Last week I posted a video of a lower body work capacity exercise that we’ve used quite a bit at the end of this off-season. Today i wanted to share a companion exercise that encompasses somewhat of a more “hockey-specific” movement pattern.

On that note, I think it’s important to understand what hockey-specific means. It’s been funny over the last year to hear how many parents and coaches talk about our training at Endeavor Sports Performance as “hockey-specific”. In a lot of ways, it really is. We prepare our players for the demands of the game, and make sure that we peak their speed, power, and energy systems work to create the smoothest transition to pre-season as possible. That said, if you walked into our facility and watched our players train, you wouldn’t see anything that looks like hockey. In fact, a lot of what makes the programs I write hockey-specific is how I explain the benefits of various components to the players. In many cases, specific exercises and program design strategies are appropriate for a number (if not all) sports, but the explanation to the athlete about how it transfers is different.

Does this make it hockey specific?

(This is what happens when you hit yourself in the face with the bar while doing hang cleans…lesson learned)

All that said, this exercise does have direct application to hockey with regards to the body position, movement pattern, and involved energy systems. It’s also pretty funny to watch how long it takes them to get set up for, what they know will be, their very last video appearance of the Summer (watch for Gabe Antoni trying to sneak into the shot after being told he couldn’t just skip to the end of the training day to be in the video).

Split Squat IsoHold into Lateral Bound

We progressed it:

  1. Week 1: 3 x 3x(5s+3)/side …3 sets of 3 cycles of 5s holds with 3 max effort jumps each side
  2. Week 2: 3 x 4x(5s+3)/side
  3. Week 3: 4 x 4x(5s+3)/side

This is another great exercise to incorporate into the end of the off-season, once players have established sufficient strength and endurance to maintain the desired positions and speed of movement. If you missed it, check out my last post on another variation of this concept: Late Off-Season Conditioning

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Get an inside look at how I design year-round comprehensive hockey training programs here: Ultimate Hockey Training

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Several years back I was fortunate to be able to spend some time at Holy Cross with Brijesh Patel, who is now at Quinnipiac University. I always learn something when we get together, so I really enjoy the rare opportunity when I’m able to shut everything down and just spend the day observing and talking shop.

While I was there he had a few off-season hockey players finishing up a workout with an exercise that I saw, immediately stole, and continue to use today. In fact, it was ultimately this experience that was the inspiration for one of our hockey players favorite (…and least favorite) conditioning techniques:

Split Squat Hold into Slideboard

The exercise I stole from Brijesh is what I (and maybe he) call a Squat Hold into Vertical Jump. Pretty straight forward. You can categorize this however you want (work capacity, lactic capacity, etc.), but as I’ve mentioned in the past, the fatigue mechanisms at play in static and dynamic environments are somewhat different, but both affect hockey players every time they step on the ice. As you can imagine, this also helps reinforce low position strength/endurance, which is essential for maintaining a good skating position through fatigue.  You can learn more about these concepts in the video below:

Hockey Conditioning

Finally, here is a video of the Squat Hold to Vertical Jump. The players are holding a squat position for 10s, then doing 3 max effort vertical jumps, and cycling through that process 4 times. The progression for us looked like:

  1. Week 1: 3 x 3x(10s+3) …3 sets of 3 cycles of 10s holds with 3 max effort jumps
  2. Week 2: 3 x 4x(10s+3)
  3. Week 3: 4 x 4x(10s+3)

Squat Hold into Vertical Jump

Special thanks to Kyle Criscuolo, Gabe Antoni, Nick Cruice, Kyle Smith, and Vinny Scotti, who are entering their Freshman years at Harvard, Benley, Union, UNH, and Merrimack, respectively, for letting me film them while they go through hell!

This is an appropriate exercise for the end of the off-season and/or early pre-season before the skating volume picks up too much. Give it a try and post your comments below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Get an inside look at how I design year-round comprehensive hockey training programs here: Ultimate Hockey Training

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

Well, it saddens me to say this, but the Flyers playoff run is officially over. And with that, so is the beard. I was hoping to make it to the Boston Hockey Symposium for the second straight year with the Flyers still making a run, but I guess it just wasn’t their year (maybe the 5 scheduled surgeries and 3 other probable surgeries have something to do with it?).

Playoff beard…final hours

The good news is I’m feeling rejuvenated from my trip out San Diego last week and have a lot of great content for you over the next few weeks. We added some great stuff to Hockey Strength and Conditioning that you’ll want to check out.

Darryl Nelson wrote an outstanding article on speed training for hockey. While I think that most of the people in the circle’s I run with have a great understanding of speed training principles, I think the topic remains poorly understood amongst the majority of the hockey world. Darryl’s article does a great job of outlining the most important principle in developing speed for hockey and provides several off-ice training methods to facilitate on-ice gains. Short and to the point. Check it out at the link below:

Click here >> Training for Speed from Darryl Nelson

Sean Skahan added a video of a leg circuit he uses with his players in the late off-season/early pre-season. This is a great video because it shows a training option that isn’t equipment-reliant. In other words, assuming movement pattern proficiency, anyone can do this. The important thing is to recognize where it fits into the bigger training picture. For younger players with a short training history, this method may be effective in developing increases in strength and size. For players with an older training age, a circuit like this would be great for developing work capacity in the hips and legs, but won’t help much in the way of strength improvements. This is likely the reason Sean mentions he uses the circuit to transition into the pre-season, where strength improvements take a back-seat in importance to ensuring the player has the work capacity to sustain the impending on-ice demands. Check out the video here:

Click here >> Leg Circuit from Sean Skahan

As always, there are a few great forum discussions that you’ll be interested in. Check out the one on the benefits of power skating instruction (or lack thereof?), a Q&A with Sean about his leg circuit video, and on the Graston Technique (a manual therapy technique that has some distinct benefits for hockey players).

That’s it for today! If you aren’t a member yet, shell out the $1 to test drive Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. If it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!