The sport of hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports there is. Between the constant movements on the ice, physicality of battling for a puck, and the eye hand coordination skills demanded by the game, the human body is put through an immense amount of stress during the season. As an athlete looking to improve your strength and conditioning during the season, the first major hurdle to clear is finding a way to have time to fit in workouts. Most high level teams will play upwards of three games per week in addition to practices. Add school days into the mix and there is very little time to care for and improve the hockey player’s body. Here are a few tips that will help you, the athlete, continue to develop your physical attributes that will help you be a better hockey player on the ice.
Workout After a Game
Some may read this and think, “No way am I working out after a game, I’m already exhausted!” With the lack of free time in a hockey schedule, workouts may seem like a very timely thing to fit into a schedule. Many NHL teams have their players work out directly after a game because it allows the body the maximum amount of time to recover before the next game. The body is already loose and muscles are ready to work, so try getting into the gym after your next game, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Your body will thank you later.
Have a Primary Focus
It would be great if every one of us could walk into a gym or begin training, and upon completion, have improved every single muscle group to the exact same levels. Even during the off-season, that is a feat that few can achieve, and is even more unachievable during the season. Instead of looking to improve every area of your body, focus on one or two things that will directly correlate into better performance on the ice. Exercises like squats, hip hinges, and core stabilization are great for on-ice durability, but if you are looking to improve shot power, a series of workouts focusing on rotational strength, such as medicine ball throws, can provide drastic results in games and practices.
Take Time to Maintain
Every athlete, especially younger ones, will always strive to get bigger, faster, and stronger. It’s important to understand the difference between times when your body can exert the energy needed to increase muscle mass, and times when your body will need that energy for something else, like a game or practice. During the season, hockey players need to ensure that they are not only allowing their body to recover, but also that they are ensuring that all of the major muscle groups still receive attention. Massage or foam rollers are a great way to alleviate the soreness in the back and legs that usually follow a hard skate session. These treatments help the blood circulate through the muscles, delivering fresh, oxygen-rich, blood to muscles that need replenishment following hockey activities.
Practice Good Hygiene
Anyone who has been around the sport of hockey is familiar with THAT smell. When one considers the amount of gear hockey players wear, and then add in the amount of physical exertion, it’s easy to understand that the average hockey player sweats out nearly half a gallon of sweat per hour spent on the ice. Sweaty equipment and clothes create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, including MRSA. MRSA can quickly spread to participants of contact sports, which is why hygiene is an important factor to remaining healthy during the season. Remind players to not share gloves or pads with others, as well as avoid borrowing shirts, towels, socks, etc. After each game and practice, uniforms and practice gear should be washed with bleach. Equipment needs to be cleaned after each use with a disinfectant spray like Clear Gear Sports Spray. Our disinfecting and deodorizing sports spray works fast and kills harmful bacteria like MRSA, staph, and herpes, as well as hundreds of others. Clear Gear Sports Spray is easy to use, simply spray it on the pads and allow it to dry. Gone are the days of THAT smell in the car after a long practice.
Implement some of these tips into your in-season regiments and you’ll be able to achieve the results that you are looking for, both on and off the ice, all while remaining healthy and in shape to help lead your team throughout the season and into the playoffs!