I am looking for an off-season ice hockey workout for my clients. Do you have any ideas? I would like to see some exercises for strength and power as well as speed and agility.
I recommend you begin by looking at what biomechanical or functional demands are required to play the game of hockey. Once you have determined what kind of function hockey players must have to excel, then you need to create movement strategies that will get them to the threshold of these demands as quickly as possible. Those players that possess the highest movement capability will find the game easier to play and ultimately will be the best players. Currently, we know that 19 movement abilities have been identified for hockey. How the body must function on ice becomes the basis to how we train it off the ice. Anything less will have limited carry over.
Therefore, the key is to create specific movement strategies that challenge the body to become better at handling the demands of hockey. Players will only get bigger, stronger, faster and more explosive when the body learns to get along as a whole. If I can coordinate movement more efficiently, my body will be able to produce greater first step quickness, more explosive skating speeds, body control and quicker reactions, minimizing risk towards injury.
Two movement strategies I would highly recommend to develop strength and speed for hockey are “warding” exercises and single leg transfer of power drills. Warding drills helps players develop greater strength on the puck, enabling them to become more aggressive and confident at attaching those high traffic areas on the ice.
Partner Stride Warding: Take a hockey stick and place it directly on your partner’s hip (using a forehand grip) with arms extended. Starting from a knees flexed, athletic position, begin by extending your right leg behind you, in a similar pattern to a skating stride. Once the leg has reached full extension, plantar flex the foot and return the leg back under body. Repeat to the alternate side. Complete a total of 16 repetitions, eight per leg.
Single Leg Transfer of Power: I would suggest a drill we call the “reactive power stride.” From an athletic stance, begin by stepping back with the right leg at approximately 135 degrees of hip rotation. As the foot hits the ground, bring the left leg toward the right leg so as to transfer all the weight to the right leg. Simultaneously take left arm and reach towards right toe. Once the right leg is fully flexed, explosively jump forward and land forward back onto the left leg with toe pointing straight. Jump back quickly to the right leg and repeat for eight repetitions. Repeat to the opposite leg.