The other day I met a young hockey player and we were talking about how tryouts had gone and how the first part of the season was going. I asked a few questions about what he had done during the off-season and he told me the basics of what he had done and how much. But I was surprised by his question.

He wanted to know how long he needed to warm-up before a hockey training workout. There are a number of factors we use to determine how long a hockey player should spend warming up before training. So here are 5 Considerations Regarding Warming Up For Your Hockey Training.

1. The intensity of the training

The higher the level of intensity for a particular workout the longer you will spend warming up. Picture the men’s 100 m sprint final at the Olympics. While the networks are showing coverage of other sports, they keep cutting back to show the finalists warming up for their race. And this could be hours before the race is even going to be run. All for a race that will take less than 10 seconds to run.

In this same way if your training on a particular is going to intense you will want to spend more time warming up. On the other hand if a training session simply involves going for a bike ride to serve as active recovery you probably don’t need to go through all the aspects of your warm-up. This leads to point #2.

2. What you work on in a particular hockey training session

Is the workout a power training session? Is it an energy system workout? Will you be performing plyometrics? Are you focussing on lower body, upper body or a mix? Besides the intensity of the training session some consideration must be given to the number of different aspects that will be addressed.

If the emphasis is a whole body hockey training session you will spend more time warming up than if you are focussed only on getting in a conditioning workout.

3. The training age of the hockey player

Young hockey players need time to warm-up just as much as the pros. However their training sessions will not be as intense, as specific nor as long in duration as a pro hockey player. Because a younger player will be going through a more general, less intense and shorter training session the same amount of time spent warming may not be necessary. In fact simply exposing a young hockey player to some movement drills, based on coordination, control and stopping abilities, will generally serve well as the workout in the initial stages and later as their warm-up.

4. The health of the hockey player

If a hockey player is less than 100% health-wise the last thing we want to do is throw them back into the mix too quickly. This applies not only with games but with off-ice training as well. When a player has some type of illness or injury we will use a longer and more gradual warm-up to serve as a mini assessment as to their ability to train that day. Maybe we’ll notice a limitation in their range of motion. Or perhaps their balance is off. And it could be that everything is just fine and they’re good to go. But it is better to be thorough and sure than quick and sorry later.

5. The balance of the hockey player

By this I don’t mean  the ability to maintain body position. Instead I am referring to symmetry through the various muscle groups. Specifically I’m talking about L-R differences. If a hockey player has a particularly tight muscle on one side of the body but not the other we’ll spend more time warming up. This can occur due to a number of reasons but when the body is balanced left-right, top-bottom, front-back, internal-external rotation there is less resistance to movement. Consequently less time is needed for a completely balanced hockey player to warm-up.

So the next time this young guy goes to train for hockey he should ask himself:

How hard am I going to train today? What am I going to train? Have I done this workout before? What is my health like on that day? And is my body in balance?

Knowing the answers to these will help him decide how long he needs to warm-up for his hockey training.


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