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 Please see the previous posts for Parts I and II of this article.



12. Efficiency of training. I’m all about getting in and getting out when it comes to weight room workouts. I can’t stand marathon training sessions. When training sessions run too long that’s usually an indication that intensity has dropped off, that rest breaks are too long and that focus is waning. If I’m set up in the squat rack I can perform an endless number of exercises and drills from this same position by simply adding or subtracting load from the bar.

Contrast this with having to jump from machine to machine in order to target a specific leg muscle. Each time I change machines I need to ensure that it is free or wait my turn. Then I have to bench to the appropriate size/height and collect any weights I need if it is plate loaded. After finishing my sets I have to wipe down the machine before moving on. Add to that each machine works an isolated muscle whereas a squat target most of the lower body as well as the back and core to stabilize the bar.

 

13. Cost. Unless you are setting up a home gym this probably isn’t a consideration. But if you are looking to set up your own training area know that a single leg machine can easily run you a few thousand dollars. And that usually doesn’t include a maintenance contract, delivery, set up and possible repairs. Compare this with a squat rack, Olympic bar and 500 lbs of weight for a fraction of the cost.

 

14. Access and ease of use. I already mentioned how the wait lines develop around the favourite leg machines. Add to this the difficulty of maintaining a hockey training program when on the road or during the holidays. It’s very unlikely that another gym will have the exact same set up of machines as the ones you are on. Plus oftentimes machines are given a thumbs up due to their ‘ease of use’. Well how easy is to use when it’s the first time you try it out. What load should you use? Where should you position the pads? How should you adjust the bench? Contrast this to the ease of use of squat rack, bar and weights in a different city where you know exactly the movement, the range of motion and the loads you need to use for every lift you’ll do.

15. Shortened range of motion. One thing I like to always remind the hockey players I work with is to work through a complete range of motion. There are a number of reasons for this including developing strength over the entire length of the movement but as well for optimal power development. You see when you want to be explosive the highest velocity of the movement occurs at the end of the range of motion. Think about taking a shot with a short range of motion compared to a long one. The longer range of motion allows for a longer lever arm and thus more potential to develop power. When training on a machine you are constricted to a finite range of motion. You cannot explode through the end range of the motion but must simply reverse your direction to the starting point. And what if you did try and explode through the end range of the machine? Well one of two things would happen. Either you would be powerful enough to overcome the welds on the machine (most unlikely) or the welds would hold and your body would come to abrupt halt and possible injury.

So does mean that we never use machines? Absolutely not. We use a variety of them ranging from cable columns, rowing machines, lat pull downs and some cardio equipment and occasionally. But for the most part leg training for a hockey player should be based around exercises which put the athlete on their feet and incorporate a variety of different loads, planes, tempos and movements. And if you do use a leg machine simply ask yourself why and if there is a better available to you.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                      onsidehockeytraining.com

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