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The other day I had a little down time and was flipping around the dial while replying to emails. I came across a program that was showing parts of a UFC fighter’s training program. Some of you may be big fans of the UFC and be able to figure out which fighter I’m referring. But if you don’t, no problem. You’ll still be able to get the point of the article.

For this episode they showed aspects of the training from the grappling, to muay thai, weight room workouts as well as some chiropractic treatments. And a number of things struck me about his workouts that I thought ‘I hope none of our hockey players make these mistakes with their training’. Here’s what I saw.

The first part that I didn’t agree with was the structure and style of the workout. This fighter’s workout revolved around performing a number of machine-based stations non-stop for an hour. Although UFC is vastly different from hockey there are certain elements that are common to both. Both sports require being in a standing position. Both sports involve trying to beat an opponent. Both sports require well developed energy systems to be both explosive and last the entire match.

On the program a number of the exercises were performed sitting, lying or if standing were performed in the sagittal (forward and back) plane. Imagine trying to skate or get off a shot in hockey without any side to side or rotational movement. It’s pretty much impossible. Many of the exercises when seated or lying down do not require stabilization of the core muscles in order to perform the lift. Again try and imagine playing hockey without a strong and stable core. Lastly, the exercises were performed non-stop for one hour. Imagine playing the game of hockey for one hour with no shifts? Your intensity would surely drop if you never came off the ice.

This last point has actually been proven in the research. When you focus too much on the aerobic aspect of your game there is the potential to compromise the power aspect of your game. Think about it this way. If you take a long distance runner and have then perform some power training they become a better long distance runner as they develop more of a power base. However if you take a power athlete and incorporate long, slow steady-state aerobic training you may result in a less explosive athlete. And guess how many hockey player over the years have come to me asking to help them improve their aerobic conditioning? Zero. But I have yet to have a hockey player who doesn’t want to be quicker and more explosive.

The reason this show had so much impact on me was that it was very evident the mistakes this fighter was making with his training. And I was thinking how much better this athlete could be if he trained for power, fully developed his core and used some land-based movement drills and lifts. Instead he limiting himself and stepping into the ring with a less than adequate training program. But there was a bigger problem than this.

The bigger problem was that many young hockey players would be watching this program and see of their UFC favourites training. And they might assume, incorrectly, that if a big-time UFC star used these training methods than this must be the best training style available. And these young hockey players might look for a way to adapt this training style to their own program and suffer the same short-comings as this fighter.

Whenever you are considering incorporating something new into your training program ask yourself a few questions. Ask ‘why would you add it in?, would anything else be eliminated?, is this the best way to accomplish this goal? and is this method proven?’

If you have questions about a training style or program for hockey you’ve come across post them below and I’ll address them in a future post.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                         onsidehockeytraining.com

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