this is the complete formula you need to take your hockey conditioning to an elite level. i am teaching you each of the energy systems and what their exact demand is so that you can design your programming to create true hockey specific conditioning. then, we’re going to take a little bit of a deeper dive into what energy production really means, and how this all connects for you out on the ice. the reality is that the specific conditioning of these energy systems provides the specific fuel that you need in order to get your muscles to do the job you want them to do. the duration of your energy production is fundamentally important to your understanding as someone who is interested in improving their hockey performance. but, for completeness, i need to give a tip of the hat and acknowledge that skill and technique play an immeasurable role in energy economy. this is only one of the several reasons why i am totally opposed to the idea that hockey athletes only need to perform one method of conditioning to identify themselves as optimally conditioned for hockey performance. essentially, ampk senses energy within your muscle cells and it reacts in response to the energy state of the muscle cell – this response can have a number of effects on your physiology. but, what is relevant to this project is the known fact that ampk stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis (which is the creation of new mitochondria so that you can burn more energy for longer). a well-designed hockey conditioning program must optimize all of the stimuli at the right level and in the correct dosage in order to generate a hockey specific conditioning result. this is how conditioning works as well and depending on where you’re at in your periodization, it should be a progressive yet integrated utilization of both gpp and spp work to create the ultimate hockey athlete. it will very simply not maintain the same level of conditioning that your previous muscle mass had, this is why i mentioned that you need to create “functional” muscle mass – as muscle mass by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be optimally functional for hockey unless you train it in a way that makes it so. attitude shifts need to happen here for sure, and the reason why athletes normally have a poor attitude towards stretching is that i think they: but, if you corrected your tightness, even though you’re essentially still the same person, you will perform better on the ice just because you will be able to move better. sometimes certain aspects of training or nutrition can be highly individual, but when it comes to tightness in hockey players you can be sure that the hips, achilles tendon/calves, vastus lateralis, hamstrings (biceps femoris) and shoulders are all a little, or, super tight. this is one of the many reasons i believe it’s so important for hockey players to run in the offseason and not specialize too early with spp work by trying to skate all of the time.
that outside of your thigh is also probably rock hard to the touch if you haven’t addressed tightness directly in the past either. now that we have gone over all of the main tightness areas that effect hockey players and their performance it’s important to note a few things. it’s all good and well if you’re strong, but if you’re not able to express that strength out on the ice then it is completely pointless. this is not an exhaustive list of the plyometric drills we use here a hockey training as that list would be very extensive – the main thing i am pointing out here is that your “high frequency” drills are the ones that get you into “excitation” mode. some coaches have a lack of confidence in sprinting because they feel that due to the different movement mechanics that occur with sprinting vs. skating that there won’t be a carryover, and instead, you must train laterally in order to improve speed development. knowing this, hockey players need to have a heavy focus in the off-season on developing the vastus medialis oblique and hamstrings with the time that they have before they are back into playing again. a final note that i would like to make here on the topic of sprinting for hockey performance is the importance of varying up your starting sprint stance to create different effects. tempo runs are also generally not very fatiguing for the nervous system – so they can be something that is performed even on deload weeks as a form of active rest if you are in need of developing your aerobic base sooner than later. there is a point of diminishing returns here, if you “feel the burn” too much then you are entering a lactic state and exiting an aerobic state. this is a quick 20-minute workout that is most appropriate for people who want to ease into their interval work in a more progressive manner (which is one of the reasons why it’s so good for fat loss). because honestly, i think the previous giant explanations i have done weren’t necessary for you to see how this type of training methodology leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to creating improvements in hockey performance. you have to understand that the areas of strength development, conditioning development, and skill development—are not separate compartments in your body when it comes to the accumulation of fatigue. it’s being explosive, faster, more agile, and with enough of a gas tank that if you had to fight for your life for the last 5 minutes of overtime, your conditioning wouldn’t be what failed you if you lost that battle. i want to thank you very much for investing your time in going through this monster hockey conditioning article and i hope that i met your expectations on delivering what i set out to do. and if it’s going to be a little while until you can get your hands on one, make sure you check out the 9-minute hockey trainer and the follow along program because they are both perfect for someone in your situation.
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