The Death of Cardio for Hockey Goalies: Part One

Thanks for coming out ‘steady state cardio…your services are no longer needed.  Same goes for you ‘fat burning zone’; you’re outta here too!

I am going to give you a few little treats over the next few days.  Why you ask?  What have you done to deserve treats?  To be honest, not much really – just kidding!  The truth is that I am heading out of town and I want to make sure you are well cared for during my time away.  Paul and I a heading to Vegas-baby!  I have some business meetings there next Friday/Saturday so we are heading out on Sunday for a few days of vacation before the meetings.  Since my summers are consumed by training hockey players six days per week, this will be our ‘summer holiday’ and I am pretty pumped!!

So in anticipation of my departure and because Kyle emailed me to remind me that he is looking for some cardio workouts for goalies, I am going to give you a sneak peak at my NEW goalie training product!  My goal is to release it in the next 4-5 weeks so stay tuned.  Here is the first excerpt from the new manual teaching your Cardio Mythology 101.  Stay tuned for Part Two coming on Sunday or Monday outlining the type of cardio training that helps you actually stop pucks. 

Cardio mythology 101

I must admit some of us ‘professionals’ in the fitness industry are our own worst enemies (myself included).  We create terminology that has several connotations to the point where we even confuse ourselves.  I think the term “cardio” is a perfect example.

If I ask you what cardio training is, most of you would probably say something like going for a run, riding the stationary bike, going on the Stairmaster.  If I asked you how long cardio training should last, many of you would say 40-60 minutes.

By definition – cardio training is any training that improves your cardiovascular system.  In other words, any training that makes your heart stronger and improves your circulation.  Will running do that?  Yes.  Will jumping rope do that?  Yes.  If I asked you to do 20 barbell squats would your heart be pumping harder and circulating more blood?  Yes.  So by that definition can squatting be considered ‘cardio’ training.  Well, yes!

Confused?  Me too.  Especially since I titled this chapter “The Death of Cardio.”

Let’s dispel some myths about cardio training:

Myth #1:  If I want to be lean I need to train in the fat burning zone.

Okay if you take only one thing from this entire manual let it be this…THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE FAT BURNING ZONE!!  This is a myth created by the fitness industry and maybe the people who make cardio training equipment to help people feel good about sitting on a bike and hardly turning the pedals at all while getting their heart rate into the “fat burning zone”.

Fat is a form of energy that our muscles can use to do work.  The problem with fat is it takes quite a while to breakdown and become a useable form.  When you are exercising at a low intensity, your body does not need much fuel, so it can take it’s time and get fuel directly from fat.   This does not mean you will get lean training like this, because if you are on the bike ‘burning fat’ for 45 minutes but you only consume 250 calories during that time – you are not going to make much of a dent in your blubber.  Nor are you going to improve your hockey stamina with this type of low intensity training.

Myth #2: Goalies need endurance to play the entire game so they must do long steady state training.

I agree that a goalie needs stamina to be on the ice, attentive and reactive for the entire game.  The last time I checked a period was only 20-minutes long.  The goalie is not constantly skating nor are they constantly making saves.  They have bouts where they are attentive but in their relaxed ready position, times when they are ready to play the puck and times when they are explosive and reactive for extended periods – I am thinking particularly of penalty kills.

If we look at where training can have the biggest impact on the goalie’s performance it is not training them to for the times when they are in their relaxed ready position.

Myth #3: High intensity cardio training is dangerous.

Some athletes are concerned that high intensity cardio training is dangerous or sends too much impact to the joints.  Does that make sense?  How many foot contacts would you encounter in 45-minutes of running.  Now how many foot contacts would you encounter in 15-20 minutes of intervals with 20 seconds on and 40 seconds of resting (as an example).  In the above example the athlete is only contacting the ground for about 5-7 minutes of the entire workout.

Myth #4: I need to go to the gym for my cardio training.

Are you going to be on a machine during the cardiovascular portions of a hockey game?  Then why do people use this excuse so often for not doing cardio training?  You can do your cardio training at home using your body weight, using agility drills, using lateral power drills, even lifting weights.  I will tell you more in the next section.



PS – Click here if you want to learn more about goalie specific training programs