There are specific exercises that all players should include in their programme.
This is because they are essential regardless of playing position or age.
In this article, I’m going to break down 5 key exercises that all hockey players should be doing.
Hockey is a repeat sprint sport. Short, sharp sprints. Minimal recovery between efforts. But to improve your repeat sprint ability, you must first improve your top speed. And there is no better way of achieving this than max effort sprinting.
Aim to include max effort (90-100%) sprints in your warm-ups, as this is a great opportunity to include high-quality speed work.
A ballpark for volume per session would be 150-300m in total. This could be 5-10 x 30m sprints, or 3-6 x 50m sprints, for example.
The ankle is one of the most commonly injured sites in hockey (Manaf et al. 2021; Barboza et al., 2018). This is due to the high intensities, multi-directional demands and reactive elements needed. Ultimately this means a lot of unplanned changes in direction at speed. The calf plays a significant role in stabilizing the ankle joint, especially laterally (Liu et al. 2021) which is where most ankle sprains occur.
To reduce the risk of ankle injuries, you must load the calves regularly. Some great variations of calf exercises include leg press calf raises, single leg calf raises and Smith machine calf raises.
The hamstring group is a high-risk tissue in hockey because of the low positions involved. Due to greater hip flexion, this places the hamstring under more load. Hockey also requires a lot of high-speed decelerations, which are particularly demanding on the hamstrings.
Hockey players should aim to include both high-force and high-volume hamstring training in their programmes. As the hamstrings cross both the hip and knee joint, they should be trained as such. Hip-dominant exercises like Romanian deadlifts, and knee-dominant exercises such as Nordic curls are great options to strengthen this area.
Single Leg Exercises
Hockey involves a lot of split stance positions, and changes of direction. This means that most actions place a large demand on a single leg. Bilateral (double-leg) exercises are also a great option, but hockey players should always include single-leg (or split-stance) movements in their programme.
Movements like split squats, reverse lunges, single-leg squats, split stance deadlifts and single-leg presses are great options here. Plus, aim to include single leg plyometric exercises such as hops and bounds too!
Finally, hockey players should never forget to include direct trunk exercises in their programme.
Hockey places a very large demand on the lower back, meaning that the trunk plays an important role in protecting it from injury.
The trunk can tolerate a very high volume of training, owing to its morphology (muscle characteristics). But players will often only include a couple of sets of planks at the end of a session.
Think more like 200-300 reps per session as a ballpark.If you enjoyed this article sign up to our email list to get a FREE conditioning guide for Hockey!