Whether you’re in the NHL or playing youth hockey, everyone is in the same boat right now. The season could pick back up and finish or you might have to wait and start again in the fall. Nobody really knows. The key is to keep your body ready for whenever that day comes.
All of the exercises listed below can be done without having access to any kind of equipment by using just your bodyweight. However, if you’re fortunate enough to have some equipment lying around, you can supercharge these exercises as well.
Do this as one big circuit, repeating 3-5 times through. Take rest as needed while making sure form and technique doesn’t suffer.
Step Back Lunges
Focus on keeping a tall posture with your chest facing forward. Take a big step back and push through that front foot. You can hold dumbbells or something heavy in your hands to make it more challenging. Aim for 8-12 reps per leg.
I always cue my clients to pretend they are going to get kicked in stomach while doing the front plank. Keep your whole body as tight as possible while not letting your hips sag to the floor. You can do these on your forearms or in a pushup position. Aim for 45-60 seconds.
Sit into a squat, or hockey stance, and then explode into a jump as high as you can. As soon as your feet hit the floor, descend into another squat and jump again. Pretend the floor is hot lava. Sit fast and jump high. Aim for 10-12 jumps.
Keep hands slightly outside shoulder width and, like mentioned in the video, keep elbows at roughly 45 degree angle thinking about drawing an arrow with your body. Chest should reach the bottom before your hips do. Work towards a depth to where your chest almost touches the floor. If this is too difficult, elevate your hands by doing them on steps, chair, table, etc. To challenge yourself more, elevate your feet onto a chair or table. Aim for 10-15 reps.
Overhead Squat with Stick
While holding your hockey stick overhead, do a normal bodyweight squat. The trick here is to keep your hands behind your ears as you descend into the squat. Your hands will want to shift forward so keep your chest facing forward and sit in as tall of a position as possible. You will feel a good stretch in your shoulders and upper back as well. If you’re doing these correctly, you’ll almost feel like you’re falling backwards. Aim for 10-15 reps.
Much like the front plank, these can be done on your forearms or hand. Make sure to cross the top leg over and keep your head back, maintaining a straight line from your head to your feet while not letting your hips sag down. Aim for 30-45 seconds each side.
Keeping your feet as close to your butt, push through the floor to bring your hips into the air. Squeeze your butt as the top for a quick pause before coming back down. Aim for 15-20 reps.
Standing Calf Raise
To make these harder, hold something heavy in each hand or in front of you. You can also elevate the balls of your feet so that your heels can drop below. For example, steps, a big textbook, or the edge of your porch. Aim for 15-20 reps.
It’s important to keep your gaze toward the floor to alleviate strain on your neck. Do all three of these in succession. Bring your arms as high as you can each time while concentrating on squeezing your shoulder blades. Aim for 10-12 on each one.
As shown in the video, start slow with these by making sure you’re effectively sticking the landing. As you get comfortable with that, you want to be as springy and explosive as possible. By again pretending the floor is hot lava, each stride should be powerful. Aim for 10-12 reps per leg.
If you have an injury or a reason you cannot do a certain exercise, feel free to skip it and move on to the next exercise. There’s no sense in hurting yourself! As indicated throughout the article, these exercises can be made harder by adding weights or anything you can use around the house. Going through the circuit at a quicker pace will help keep your conditioning up a little as well so don’t be afraid to push the pace after you’ve gone through once or twice and got the feel of things. Be strict with your technique and have fun with it!
Dan Minnicks is the Head Fitness & Sports Performance Coach at Umberger Performance in Pittsburgh, Pa. During his tenure, he has worked with hockey players at all levels from youth to the NHL. Dan also works with a variety of athletes of all ages including Adult National Figure Skaters and competitive endurance athletes. Dan’s clients also include a wide range of the general population plus law enforcement, SWAT, and members of the United States Military, including the Army, Navy, and Naval Special Warfare.