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How to Get in Shape for Hockey (Fast)

It has been said that speed kills, but what kills speed?  Fatigue kills speed. You may be the fastest skater, but if you get tired faster than other players, you will soon be the slowest.  You may be the most powerful athlete, but when you get tired, you will be the weakest. This allowed Muhammed Ali to defeat the younger, more powerful George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle”. 

According to energy system studies, hockey is 100% anaerobic, meaning aerobic training for hockey is a waste of time.  Instead, hockey players should work on maximizing their anaerobic power and anaerobic endurance (also known as capacity) to get in better hockey shape.

Since most sports are anaerobic, the circuits in this article will rapidly improve the ability to produce and sustain power for most sports. To learn more about anaerobic vs aerobic training and 5 steps to condition for any sport, read my previous article, Endurance Training for Athletes.

Option 1: Super Leg Circuit for Hockey

I love this circuit and use this with most of my athletes to get them quickly into shape. Traditionally, the circuit progresses through squats, lunges, lateral box hops, and squat jumps. But this way, power and rep quality diminishes severely during the last two stations. Instead, I reverse the order. I also substitute jump switch lunges for lunges as these allow us to produce more power and transition faster between lunges. For hockey, we like to replace the lateral box hops with skater hops.

How to perform the circuit:

A1: Squat Jumps x 12 reps. Squat below parallel and jump as high as you can. Land and drop immediately into a squat and repeat. No rest.

A2. Jump Switch Lunges x 12 reps each leg. Make sure your knee almost touches the ground. No rest.

A3: Skater Hops x 12 reps each leg. Hop back and forth between two lines or place two ropes down several feet apart to motivate bigger jumps. Go for a combination of speed and distance. No rest.

A4: Squats x 12 reps. Squat parallel or below, and as fast as you can control. This is one set.  Whatever time it takes you, that is your rest. 80 seconds is a great time. However, it’s best not to tell your athletes a time, or they will start to cheat the movements just to get a good time. If you can do 6 sets of quality reps in 80 seconds or less, you will be ready to throw down with Muhammed Ali in his prime.

The advantage of this circuit is it can be done anywhere and requires no equipment.

Option 2: Tabata Hockey Jump Circuit

If you are a sports performance coach, you have heard of Tabata training. A Tabata is an all-out-bout of exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds off, repeated for 8 sets. It takes 4 minutes to complete one Tabata.

Many Tabata circuits don’t yield results as the exercises used must involve very large muscle groups and must be able to be safely performed at max capacity. Sprints, cycling, and jumping meet these criteria.

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Give Your Athletes a Competitive Edge

I created this Tabata circuit to give my athletes a competitive edge and get them in shape fast. Tabata training is a proven technique to rapidly improve your body’s ability to handle lactate, and simultaneously improving your Vo2max (a measure of aerobic fitness).

When you handle lactate better, you raise your lactate threshold, thus improving your ability to skate fast for your entire shift. When you have a better Vo2max, you will recover faster when your waiting to get back in the game.         

How to perform the circuit:

A1. Jump Switch Lunges x 20 seconds. Make sure your knee almost touches the ground. 10 second recovery.

A2. Russian Plyo Box Skater Jumps x 20 seconds. Jump for height and distance, not speed.  Get as many quality reps as you can. 10 second recovery.

A3: Squat Jumps x 20 seconds.  Squat below parallel and jump as high as you can. Land and drop immediately into a squat and repeat. 10 second recovery.

A4: Lateral hurdle double leg hops x 20 seconds. Hop back and forth over a 6” or 9” hurdle. Get as many reps as you can in 20 seconds. Immediately repeat this circuit for a total of 8 sets (not 8 sets each, but 2 sets each).

That is one Tabata. If you want to perform another 2 to 3 rounds, take 2 minutes to rest between circuits. I strongly recommend the Gopher SnapBack Hurdles, if you land on it, it will not break. I cannot tell you how many banana hurdles have been broken at HPT. My goal is to never buy another banana hurdle after using these. If you buy the best, you only have to buy once.

Add These Circuits to Your Program

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