What hockey players should focus on in their off-season training?

What a whirlwind week I had last week – the Revolution Studio was hopping with my hockey training groups and then on Thursday Paul & I hopped a plane to Vegas for my business mastermind group meeting with Bedros Keuilian and Craig Ballantyne.  Although going to Vegas is always fun, it was a really bad time for me to be away from the gym with the hockey players just getting into the swing of things and with my release of Ultimate Goalie Training 2.0 scheduled for Friday morning.  But,  I want to deliver great content that will help more goalies win games with fewer injuries so I joined this coaching group and I am committed to doing what they say because I know they are experts in the field.  Just like you follow the training tips here because you know that it will help.

The meetings were awesome, the launch went great!  In fact, of the 150 special early bird bonuses I offered up, I think only 4 or 5 are left right now so that is pretty cool.  Anyway, over the weekend I got an email from a coach asking me to write an article about what players need to focus on during the off-season, so I have written an article below to tell you my thoughts on the topic.  I think I actually covered this really well in the series of videos I released last week, but maybe some of you would rather just see the quick written version.  If you are interested the videos are here – Interrogation 1 Interrogation 2 Interrogation 3 Interrogation 4

Now here is the article and in my opinion, the best thing a hockey player can do in the off-season is become a better athlete.  Whether you are a skater or a goalie, if you can improve your stability, strength, speed and stamina, you will be a more effective player next season.

The best way to become a better athlete during the off-season is to follow a systematic approach that first builds a solid foundation.  Your training should include different phases that follow a general progression.  There are different names that people use for the specific phases, but basically the goals of each phase are:

  • Phase One – ensure there is adequate flexibility, build a foundation of stability and activate the stabilizers.
  • Phase Two – build some useable muscle mass through functional strength training (not bodybuilding), increase the challenge to the stabilizers (neuromuscular challenge), begin to build the anaerobic lactic energy system.
  • Phase Three – maximize strength, introduce elements of power training, increase the intensity of the energy system training by adding more challenging movement patterns or more starts and stops.
  • Phase Four – convert the new strength to useable power by teaching athletes to apply their force very quickly, work on shorter but higher intensity interval training to improve accelerations or force application, maintain quality movement patterns under fatigue.

Of course the phases overlap and intertwine, but that is the basic format for the big steps in each phase.  The two biggest mistakes I see players make over and over again are:

1.       Working on their strengths and ignoring their weaknesses.  Everyone likes to work on things they are already good at.

2.       Training like a bodybuilder – if you have a chest day, back day, leg day, shoulder day – you are training like a bodybuilder.

Here is what my off-season training schedule looks like for the junior and pro players I train at the Revolution Studio….

Monday – Lower Body + Energy System Development (anaerobic lactic emphasis)

Tuesday – Upper Body + Energy System Development (anaerobic alactic emphasis)

Wednesday – Off day from the gym – stretch and prehab on own.

Thursday – Lower Body + Energy System Development (anaerobic lactic emphasis)

Friday – Upper Body + Energy System Development (anaerobic alactic emphasis)

Saturday – Energy System Development (will varied based on phase)

Sunday – OFF

That is the basic layout anyway – we always customize the programs based on the players needs.  So to answer the question in the title of this post – What should hockey players focus on in their off-season training?  My simple answer is #1 – a strong foundation of flexibility and stability and #2 – building leg strength.

I hope this helps.


PS – remember there are only 4 or 5 of the fast action bonuses left for UGT 2.0 if that is something you have been thinking about.