Hockey skates hung up on a hook on a blue background.

The stinky hockey bags are tucked away, and your schedule suddenly is free. It must be the hockey off-season. Yet, you can take your next season to the next level with off-ice hockey training. Implement these exercises to get ready for next season.

While off-ice training is important for strength and conditioning, having a synthetic rink installed in your house means you don’t have to settle for off-ice training. With an artificial ice rink, you can practice anytime you like! Contact KwikRink for a free estimate of an at-home rink. Practice in the off-season and see how your hockey skills improve!

Three Goals For the Athlete Practicing Off-Ice Hockey Training

Hockey players working out using dumbbells.

According to Next Level Athletic, the three focus points for off-season hockey training:

  1. Strength Training
  2. Jump Training
  3. Speed Training

These three strengthening points will translate to improved hockey skills, powerful legs, higher endurance, and improved ability. A good idea for all these exercises: have a lifting partner or coach there to spot.

As the legendary hockey player and coach Herb Brooks said, “the legs feed the wolf.” Keep this in mind during your off-ice hockey training.

Strength Training

A hockey player deadlifting for off-ice hockey training in the off-season.

To weight-train, you have to lift weights, either in a weight training room or at home. If you have not invested in barbells or kettlebells at home, try lifting: 

  • laundry detergent 
  • bags of onions, potatoes, or apples 
  • paint cans
  • or milk jugs (you can even fill with a quick concrete solution)  

You will want to do reps of deadlifts. They are fundamental and beneficial. Simply take something heavy and stand up from a squat, keeping your back straight.

Squats, the opposite motion of a deadlift, are taking something heavy and going down into a squat and back up. You can do it with legs shoulder length apart or one forward and one behind.

Chin-ups are not in everyone’s wheelhouse but keep at it: it improves your upper body strength and conditioning. There are many at-home bars you can put in a doorway. Every time you pass, see how many reps you can do. 

Bench lifts are somewhat controversial among strength and conditioning coaches. Some believe it is for show. But developing your upper body muscle mass protects your joints when checked and in the corner fights for the puck.

For a rowing exercise, hold a weight in one hand and place the other hand on a bench or chair. Your body should be at a right-hand angle. 

Repeatedly lift the arm with the weight. Rows develop your upper back muscles.

Overhead/Landmine presses are a bit complicated to explain, so you might want to google this one. This exercise will work on your shoulder muscles. 

Hip thrusts will develop your glute muscles: 

  1. Lay on a bench face-up. 
  2. Put a padded barbell over your waist, knees at 90 degrees, and feet on the floor. 
  3. Thrust your hips up toward the ceiling and slowly release down. 

All of this strength training will develop your core and other muscles and is excellent off-ice hockey training. If you exclusively focus on core exercises, your abilities and performance for on-ice action will not improve. 

All hockey players want to return to the ice stronger and better. Doing the strength exercises and gradually increasing the weight will achieve that goal.

Jump, Jump, Jump

A woman doing box jumps of off-ice hockey training.

It is one thing to know how to jump, but an entirely different thing to know how to land. So what is a proper landing? 

Your chest needs to be up, rear end back, and knees in line with the toes. Absorbing the force of the landing is more important to perfect than the power generated from the jump.

Youth can practice small jumps, over and over with the proper landing until it becomes second nature. As they mature, more power and the different jump movements needed for hockey can be added to the routine.

I Feel The Need For Speed

A man practicing sprinting on a blue track.

Every hockey player wants to be the first to the puck or take that break-away pass. The key to speed training for hockey is repetitive short and fast sprints.

Canadian Olympic sprinter and sprint coach Charlie Francis taught that beneficial speed training needed to be 95% of your maximum. Below that 95% mark did not qualify as speed training. 

As hockey players know, the game consists of quick bursts of speed in multiple directions. It is more important for a player to be able to change speed quickly than their all-out speed.

And if you have seen the hockey movie Miracle, you know about “Herbies”. The drills made famous by Brooks can be done on your home installed synthetic ice, in your basement, or backyard. 

And as your speed improves, adding jumps to the sprints will elevate your off-ice hockey training.

Other Important Notes For a Successful Training Program

A hockey player stretching on ice preparing to practice.

Hockey Canada reminds us of other aspects of your ice training, both on and off. A good training program includes:

  • warm-up drills
  • stretching 
  • balance activities
  • core muscle development
  • stick handling
  • Cooldown
  • proper nutrition
  • plenty of hydrating fluids. 

Having synthetic ice at home is ideal for stickhandling drills by setup cones or chairs to work around.

Or set up something in the yard to puck handle around. You can purchase inexpensive puck-handling balls or, in a pinch, use a tennis ball. 

A Fun Hockey Off-Season

A hockey player wearing a red uniform and skating on ice.

With preseason, season, spring hockey, and summer camps, the off-season may not be very long, but no matter how long, keeping up and improving your hockey body and IQ is a vital part. 

As with anything, the more fun you make it, the more likely you will stay dedicated to the sport. Having synthetic ice from KwikRink in your house will encourage the hockey player and friends to keep on playing. Reach out today for more information!

And a photo of the 1980 Miracle hockey team hanging over your training area for some magic and inspiration is always a good idea!