Posts Tagged ‘energy system’

Steven Stamkos of the Sarnia Sting. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images for the NHL)

So the NHL draft is coming up at the end of the month from the Staples Center in LA.  Teams will use a variety of criteria to determine who they select.  Players hoping to be drafted will have gone through a number of interviews, psychological evaluations, medical examinations as well as a fitness evaluation. 

Just about a month the top prospects  were in Toronto for the NHL Combine.  This is where the players are put through the physical tests that help teams evaluate the players they have in mind. 

The players will have their height, weight and wingspan recorded.  They will perform a variety of strength and power tests such as the hand grip, push ups, sit ups, bench press, standing long jump, vertical jump, med ball throw, a balance, an agility and a couple of energy system tests.

Each of the tests provides particular information both about the physical abilities of the player, the potential for continued improvement and in the case of the hand grip strength test some information about bilateral asymmetries.

So which ones should you focus on and which ones really matter?

I’m a big advocate of eliminating weaknesses before adding positives. This applies to all areas related to your preparation for hockey. With your nutrition you’ve got to get rid of the processed, high sugar and low-nutritional value foods before you start shopping for healthier options. You need to get your rest in order rather than worrying about an ergogenic aid in the gym or an energy drink to get you going. And you need to eliminate any areas of compensation with the body’s movement patterns before looking to increase load on any of your lifts.

So before you rush off to improve your bench press score look to increase the mobility of your shoulder blades and stabilize the shoulder. As well look to stabilize the core, specifically your ability to resist flexion, prior to increasing your bench. And once you are ready to work on your bench start with the push-ups first and then proceed to the bench.

Prior to getting into your lower body training look to get the frontal plane muscles of the lower body turned on. Before you take that big wind up to test your vertical and long jump abilities ensure that you have spent some time working on your landing mechanics. Very few hockey players ever got hurt from the take off portion of a jump but whenever an injury does occur it’s almost always during the landing.

And lastly, before you begin looking for the energy system workout that will have you emptying your gut make sure you develop the systems in the right order. While you may impress your workout buddies, and unfortunately some coaches, with efforts that exceed your body’s threshold and thus cause you to puke, know that this is your body’s way of saying ‘too much’. You will get greater gains and peak at the right time during the season by training hard but respecting your body’s limits to training.

And the second part of the question above ‘which tests matter’ is they all do. The only one I don’t care for a lot is the bench press but they do all provide valuable info as to the size, strength, power and energy system development of the players. To really stand out however make sure you eliminate your weaknesses first, work to your capacity and perform your training in the proper order.


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.