Posts Tagged ‘hockey player’

The other day a hockey player joined our facility. And he had a program he had been following from the previous place he trained at.

So naturally I offered to go over his program and make some revisions if necessary.

Guess what I found? There were a  number of problems with the program including:

Problem # 1 – Too Much Volume

This player had been following a program that him doing everything under the sun and then some. It was ridiculous the amount of sets, reps and exercise this hockey player was doing on this program.

For example, the programs we write for our hockey players may have 15-25 sets. But the program this hockey player was following him doing between 30 and 40!

Problem #2 – Too Long

With our programs we want our hockey players to keep moving without rushing. We want them to be able to complete the training program between 60-75 minutes. When I asked this hockey player how long it took him to complete his program he said between two and two and a half hours!

That’s insane! I don’t know about you but my motiovation to train starts to drop after the one hour mark. And by 75 minutes I know my pace, intensity and focus is not as sharp. I couldn’t imagine what this would be like after 150 minutes of training!

Why do we want our workouts to be completed in 75 minutes or less? Well because testosterne levels are diving while waste products continue to accumulate. The gains that may come after this time are off-set by the delayed recovery that will be needed not to mention the increased risk of injury.

Obviously the minimal essential dose principle has not caught on yet in all hockey circles.

Problem #3 – Bodybuilding Exercises

I’d like to say that was the extent of the faults of this program but it got worse. Bodybuilding lifts such as biceps curls and skull crushers have no place in a hockey training program. One colleague said they allow their hockey players to do this isolated, beach workout exercises once they complete all of the prerequisite hockey training.

I don’t even agree with this. And here’s why.

I see training for hockey as an investment that requires resources in terms of time and energy. Why waste these on a couple of bodybuilding arm exercises?

Problem #4 – Everything but the Kitchen Sink

The last issue I had with this program are the fact that it was clear there was no concept of what works when it comes to training hockey players and what doesn’t. The creator of the program threw every exercise they could think of into the program without any consideration as to planes of movement, unilateral versus bilateral exercises, demands of the game, order of exercise, voume of training, previous injuries and phase of the competitive season.

Now to be fair I must be open to having others critique my work as well. And I have. Copies of my off-season hockey training program were sent to NHL strength coaches, top level trainers and other specialists in the field of developing hockey talent. Not to mention the number of players that have used to become the best they can.

If you would like me to review your hockey training program send a message to and I’ll review it for you free of charge with no obligation.


In the previous post I showed a couple of videos demonstrating some common mistakes being made when performing deadlifts. Deadlifts are great exercise to incorporate into the training program of of a hockey player.

That is assuming they are performed correctly.
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When you mention dryland training to a hockey player the first thing that comes to mind is leg training. And if it’s not leg training it’s core training. Which in an upcoming post I’ll show you can be accomplished at the same time. But for now we’ll stick to the discussion that leg training forms the foundation of training for hockey. And it makes sense. Because the game is played from a position on the feet with force being generated into the ground.
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It’s kind of interesting the training programs that different hockey players follow. Some will do the basics in terms of ground-based powerlifting such as the squat, deadlift and bench. Others will  lift no iron at all and perform every movement and exercise on a balance implement of some type. And lastly you’ll get the players who do a bodybuilding style workout that includes a few elements for the ‘show muscles’. These would be exercises such as crunches, biceps curls and other isolation favourites where you can feel the burn and then run and flex in front of the mirror.
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The more time and experience I spend in this field the more I am seeking out more efficient ways of doing things. And this shouldn’t just regarding hockey training but everything we do. We should be looking for strategies that give us the best return on investment. Period.

The goal shouldn’t be to make our training sessions longer. Or to set records on the training room floor. Or to double the dose of a nutrient if the first sample worked. Instead we should be looking at things the opposite way.
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