Here’s What Your Heart Rate Actually Does On The Ice

I was sifting through my notes from the NSCA Hockey Strength & Conditioning Clinic last month in Colorado Springs, CO and I wanted to share this data that Justin Roethlingshoefer (yeah that’s a mouthful) shared.

You may not have heard of him.

Have you heard of the NCAA Div 1 University of Miami Ohio hockey program?

Thought so – – he is their Head Strength & Conditioning Coach.

They have all the bells and whistles to collect data on their players during practices and games, it is awesome.  Distance, speed, acceleration, heart rate….mmmmmm gets my inner geek all fired up!

So without going into all the nitty gritty, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version and tell you what it means to you…

  • Goalies live in the 70-85% max heart rate range during games
  • During practices they are typically much higher because they are getting rapid fire on drills
  • They get very few peaks above 90% max heart rate
  • They rarely get into the 60-70% range

To give you some comparison, forwards typically go above 90% during each shift, d-men spend about a quarter of their time above 90% and most of their time over 80%.

What does that mean to you?

If your go-to method of cardio training is still an hour long run, bike ride, roller blade, whatever with the rational that you spend an hour on the ice, you are way off base.

If you are smashing yourself day after day after day with high volume, long duration cardio training – like the guy who emailed me last week who is doing hill sprints up a hill that takes 2-minutes to get up for 40-minutes, you are certainly suffering for your craft, but it is not the best way to train what you need on the ice.

Not to say that you don’t need to suffer, you do, but in the right way.  Where you suffer, then recover, suffer, then recover.

We still train at 90% some days, other days are in that 60-70% range though – these are more of our speed days.  And just like when you are on the ice our shuttles and agility-based stamina training stays in that 70-85% range.

What it should look like…

In fact, here is the heart rate data from one of our goalies – this is just the energy system development portion of the workout.  You can see where he starts low with the warm up, then we get into our three work intervals which have him in the yellow zone (80-90%) and then recovery between each interval.



So that’s it, just some data for you to geek out on.


PS – If you are playing at a level where you really need this type of precise control over your training, where you’re looking for every advantage, I can personally set up all your training for you.  Yes, everything – flexibility, speed, strength, stamina, stability – everything, just like I do for the pro players I work with online.  Click here if you need that type of training, to make the difference.