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Strength Training Part 3: The 3 Rules for Developing Strength

By Mike Fabbro on March 06, 2016


Young hockey players tend to focus on skill development and so they should. Playing and practicing hard will increase your strength, but you may not develop as fast as others or in ways that you want. Depending on your age, body type and your desired goal, your strength training will differ. There are some common elements, however. 

1) Intensity 
Walking is not as intense as jogging, which is not as intense as sprinting. Add a weight vest or pull a weighted sled and you up your intensity even more. Do it three times, do it faster and it’s more intense again.

2) It Must be Regular
This is why effective strength training during the hockey season is so tough. Your body adapts and responds and to the physical stresses you exert on your body in the form of strength training. Once or twice a week may be enough to maintain your strength, but to make significant gains, you need to train at least three times per week during the season. In the offseason, you should be strength training four to five sessions per week. Train your whole body every time you train, not just chest and back or legs. That’s not the way you play; so don’t train that way. 

3) Resistance 
To get stronger, you have to increase the resistance. The stronger you get, the easier the movements, or repetitions, will be. If you are doing pull ups for upper body strength, your numbers will increase with regular repetitions. If you are a beast and can do three sets of 15 reps, with no more than two minutes rest between sets, you can up the resistance by adding 10 percent of your body weight in the form of a vest. This is normally a revealing experience as it demonstrates how a little extra body weight can slow you down. 

Get Expert Coaching
Everyone in a gym will have an opinion on how you should train. It’s best to enlist the guidance of a professional that has experience training high-level athletes, but that usually costs money. There’s nothing wrong with lifting weights, but be sure you know what you are doing and why and how it relates specifically to your hockey needs. 

Every program should vary slightly for each player. It makes sense if you think about it. Goalies shouldn’t train like defence and forwards should train differently as well. If your goal is to put on weight, that will dictate your program. If you want to maintain your weight, get stronger and develop speed, that’s a different program again. 

I always try to integrate as many muscles and natural body movements as possible in exercises and apply loads that are a percentage of body weight. Lighter players will work with less load, the big boys carry and move more. I start with 10 percent and work up from there.  It’s amazing what you can do with your weight vest, a few medicine balls and some dumbbells. I can be humbling. 

To sum up your goals for the offseason: Get educated, get fast, get strong and develop endurance! Have Fun!

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By Mike Fabbro| March 06, 2016
Categories:  Performance
Keywords:  Conditioning

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