Here’s another sample in-season off-ice training program for youth hockey players from ~15-18 years old (Bantams and Midgets).

A few notes:

✅ This is Phase 2 of the in-season program, so the main exercises have been progressed to over the course of the previous few weeks. The program is designed so the whole team goes through the ‘A’ block together, and then half the team starts on the ‘B’ block, and the other half can start on the ‘C’ block, and then switch.

✅ The general focus of this phase is on developing strength, with an emphasis on eccentric strength on Day 1. The volume for the main lifts is relatively low, particularly for the exercises with 6s eccentrics (e.g. B1/C2 on Day 1).

✅ Day 2 of this week is closer to the weekend games, so the volume stays low, but the intensity remains high.

✅ With every exercise, the primary goal in this environment is on teaching/coaching perfect technique. Loads are only progressed when the athlete demonstrates they can perform the exercise correctly.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. If you’re interested in year-round comprehensive hockey-specific training programs for players at different ages, check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

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Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten a lot of questions about training phase length and sequencing for youth hockey players.

This image is of the periodization template I put together for a youth organization I worked with in the past.

For that organization, we divided the teams into 3 groups by age: Group A: U-12 (Mites & Squirts), Group B: ~12-14 (Peewees & Bantams), Group C (Midgets).

Group A’s program was more game-based, so we didn’t have a formal periodization model in place.

The focus for Groups B&C are slightly different, but in both cases, we used the first several weeks of the season to establish a foundation of our expectations for the training process – showing up on time, warming up as a group, how to read a training program, fundamental movement patterns, etc. Overall training stress is low while the players acclimate to higher on-ice loads.

Group B transitions back and forth between accumulation (relatively higher volume work) and intensification (relatively lower volume/higher intensity work). This is done primarily as a teaching strategy – allow the players to accumulate “practice” reps and perfect movements before emphasizing load.

Similarly, Group C starts with 2 weeks each of an eccentric and isometric phase, which are used to help the players learn (and the coaches to teach) more advanced exercises by slowing down the motion and strengthening the “sticking point”, respectively.

In general, exercises would progress or transition to a new variation in each phase.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. If you’re interested in year-round comprehensive hockey-specific training programs for players at different ages, check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

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Once athletes reach a certain training age, improving maximal strength requires using near-maximal loads.

Loads above ~85% will maximize recruitment of the involved motor units (nerve and connected muscle fibers), and also lead to positive adaptations in rate coding (i.e. the firing frequency of the nerves), both of which lead to improvements in force output.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. If you’re interested in how strength training fits into a hockey-specific training program, check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

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Rotational power is an essential physical quality to train in most team sports.

There are a few key layers to improving rotational power:

  • Does the athlete have the foundational capacity to effectively perform rotational patterns (i.e., do they have optimal hip and thoracic spine rotation)?
  • Can the athlete separate/dissociate lower/upper body rotation?
  • Can the athlete produce power in rotational patterns?

Once mobility of the hips and t-spine is established, separation can be developed through different warm-up and core exercises in parallel with introducing rotational power work.

Because power is expressed in different positions within sport, it’s helpful to integrate rotational patterns from different positions (side standing, front facing, staggered stance, etc.) and with different dynamic lead-ins.

This video is of Front Standing Med Ball Scoop w/ a Partner Pass, which is a progression from a traditional scoop.

The pass emphasizes rotational deceleration, which has applications to both improving rotational power, and transitional running patterns.

Typically performed for 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps/side.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. If you’re interested in improving power as part of a comprehensive hockey-specific training program, check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

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There are many ways to analyze the physiological demands of a sport, but tracking heart rate (HR) is the most commonly used.

When looking at the HR response during shifts of male Canadian university players, forwards had higher peak and average HRs compared to defensemen. This is consistent with my experience, and speaks to the faster playing speeds and greater number of high intensity efforts forwards accumulate during a typical shift (mentioned in previous posts).

Hockey is often described as a “lactic” sport. When analyzing post-shift levels, Noonan (2010) found that players’ blood lactate ranged from 4.4-13.7 mmol/L. 4 mmol/L is traditionally referenced as the “lactate threshold”, which means thinking of hockey as a lactic sport isn’t wrong, but the wide range of values highlights the individual, positional, and game-demand variability.

Further, it raises questions about whether we should be training players to more heavily rely on lactic metabolism or maximize aerobic power to minimize the amount of work that crosses that threshold.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. Get your off-ice training programs here >> Hockey Conditioning Programs

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