The Politically Incorrect Truth About Your Hockey Training

Politically Incorrect Truth About Your Hockey Training

I think the strength coaches and trainers who read this will be nodding their head and saying ‘yes, exactly!’  I think some of the players who read this will say ‘hmmmm, yeah, that makes sense’.  Some of you will say, ‘how dare she say such a thing!’  Sorry, I am about to be politically incorrect 🙁 some of you may not like it, but here goes…

You Have  A Lack Of Effort; Not An Abundance Of Fitness…

Some of you are fooling yourselves, you are out there thinking ‘holy crap am I ever fit – I mean this training program is too easy for ME – that is how fit I am!’

I love it when an athlete tells me that they think the program is too easy for them.  Oh, the program is too easy?  I would suggest that your effort is too easy, let’s think about this for a second…

Don’t worry, it is not just my online customers who fool themselves; the athletes I train at the Revolution Studio do the same thing.

After our hill workout or long duration energy system workout I ask them how they felt about the workout.  I ask them to rank it on a scale of 0-10, with zero being very, very easy and 10 being the hardest workout they have ever done in their lives.

For hill training and medium/long duration energy system training, I am looking for 8-9.5 (some 10s in there).  Most of them fall in that range and then you get the new kid who was just drafted and thinks they are sooooo super fit and they say, ‘it was like a 6′… oh you did not just say that???  This player was running in the middle of the pack and called it a SIX???

If you are doing 300 yard shuttle run repeats, no matter HOW fit you are, you should still be working at your maximum capacity.  So even if I brought the Olympic 400m champion out to run these with us, he would still be gassed at the end.   He would be finished before most of us had even done one length, but he would be gassed.

It does not get easier as your fitness improves, you can just push yourself harder.  It should almost be harder!  Do you understand?

Running a mile as fast as you can, will be brutal, no matter how fit you are – it is just that the fitter you are the faster you will cover the distance.

You Are Coasting Through Your Weight Training Too

I had an email from a Dad this week saying that the training program they bought was too easy for his son because he had two years of training experience.  Again, training experience has nothing to do with it.

One of the workouts had 3 sets of 12 reps on each side of Split Squats with a four second lowering phase.  Go grab some DBs and do that right now (okay, maybe not right now) and tell me how your legs feel….

Well, if you could barely get back up to a standing position at the end of the 24th rep and you had to literally waddle your DBs back to the rack, CONGRATULATIONS you did it right!

If you finished and thought – ‘that wasn’t too bad’ – BOOOOO – you did it wrong.  My best suggestion is to follow the proper tempo.  My second suggestion is grab some weight!  Don’t be shy.

If you can perform a set with perfect technique and it is not challenging for you, like you feel like you could do 2 or more reps at that weight, then you need to increase your weight.  Again, the technique must be perfect!

One Time When It Should Feel Easy

You have heard me say it a million times – – I am not trying to kill you, I am trying to make you better.

My quest is to give you what you need to do, not what you want to do.  I am not interested in your neighbor who does CrossFit or runs Triathlon or anything else; I am only interested in helping you stop the puck, shoot the puck or skate faster with fewer injuries.

So all of my hockey training programs are periodized – they have different phases with different outcome goals.  The first phase of every program is always a foundation phase where we get you moving better, get you using your stabilizers and get some of your big muscles working a little better.

Some of these exercises are quite easy; we are just trying to unlock potential.  Think of yourself as a 3-storey walk up apartment building.  We decide to build you into a 6-storey apartment building.

What would you think I just rolled up one day with a crane and started adding levels to the top of the building without doing anything to the foundation?

You would think I was crazy right?  You see, intuitively, you know this stuff, but in practice some of you forget and think that the goal is just to do stuff that is hard.

Your speed training sessions should also feel relatively ‘easy’. The intensity should be very, very high, but you should be getting lots of rest so you are actually executing the drills with speed and power.  If you are getting fatigued and your actual speed (not your effort) is dropping off, then you are not making yourself faster, you are doing the opposite.

Want a hard workout, here it is…

Do 50 burpees – 200 jumping jacks, 50 push ups, run a mile, squat and hold for 3-minutes, run around in a cirlcle 15 times each way – – repeat ‘til you barf.

Do you think that is the most efficient way to help you win more games with fewer injuries?  Didn’t think so.

I had another email from a parent whose child was having trouble fitting in the workouts around school, etc.  I know that it can be really hard to balance it all and I appreciate that not everyone can make it work.

He then said that his daughter was not seeing the results she had hoped for, probably because no one was there to watch her technique.  That could very well be, but I am thinking it probably had more to do with the fact that she was not making the time to fit in his workouts!

You can do the workouts perfectly, but if you only workout once or twice per week, you will not see the results you are hoping for.  Is it still better than doing nothing?  Yes.

Again, it is okay, not everyone can do it.  Not everyone has the motivation or the drive to make it happen, but it is not the program’s fault.  There is nothing unique about your physiology that will make a system that has worked for thousands of other players NOT work for you.

At the Revolution Studio we drill into our athletes three things….

  1. Train Smart – follow the system
  2. Work Hard – push yourself
  3. Compete Well – battle, be accountable, don’t whine

And with a Stanley Cup Champ, two Olympic Gold medalists, several Olympians, athletes from MLB, NHL, AHL, CHL, CIS, etc. it seems to work pretty well.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings, just being honest.  You also do not need to email me because you think I was talking about you specifically in the post.  This always happens after I write an article like this – someone emails to say ‘that is not what I said and blah, blah, blah….’  It always makes me chuckle because they were not the ones I was referring too.  It is not a judgement on anyone specifically, I am just sharing an example to demonstrate the point.


PS – if you are ready to leave your excuses behind and start climbing the ladder (one rung at a time) to on-ice success then GOALIES click HERE and SKATERS click HERE for your step-by-step off-season program.