In the game of hockey a player that is strong in the weight room is not necessarily a strong player on the ice. To be a factor on the ice depends on a solid base from the legs up. Although upper body strength is required, the real base of support starts in the legs, and midline muscles.
Case in point is the European player who has the slim upper body physique. Even though his competitor can usually out bench him or out curl him in the weight room, he is hard pressed to knock him off the puck, even though his upper body strength is superior. The European player has total body hockey specific strength. A strong hockey player is one who can skate through sticks, score goals when a defender is hanging on him, knock people down, and sometimes even wrestle an opponent to the ice during an altercation. It has become common to think that a strong player is one who can bench press, power clean or squat a lot of weight. Actually power is the product of both force and speed. A proper hockey workout may involve exercises that have nothing to do with weights.
Unfortunately there is a trend in today's hockey training programs for players to be lifting very heavy weights in the range of 3 to 4 reps, all based off of 85% max lift formulas. Programs like these are being implemented by strength coaches who, to their credit, do have degrees in exercise physiology, etc... but... to their detriment... have never played the game of ice hockey at a high level if at all, and are training hockey players like they are football players. In addition these very heavy weights are being put on the backs of hockey players that are not even 16 years old yet, in many cases these players are still growing and their bones are not yet fully matured and or ready to be handling these types of heavy weights. Placing these types of loads on the bodies of young players is in fact extremely dangerous and unfortunately many of these players are getting outright hurt or developing chronic pain.
Hockey specific training, to be effective and translate to the ice should also work in the same motions as on the ice and mimic the same movements and other variables as the game of hockey itself.
In the case of the power clean the idea is to accelerate the bar as quickly as possible so that the athlete can get under the bar to catch it, the goal is not to accelerate the body. However in hockey you must accelerate the body to be effective, thus you must train accordingly. In addition with the bench press, power clean and squat, the bar moves in a SINGLE vertical plane, but when playing hockey the body moves in MANY different horizontal planes.One two and three rep sets of these exercises, based off of percentages of max lifts may impress those without a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology, but in reality, this type of training may be the most un hockey specific type of training possible you could prescribe to hockey players; especially young hockey players that are high school age or younger.
In the last ten years, players and coaches may have over-rated the place of weight training in the development of hockey players, almost to the point that when one mentions "work out," people assume your talking about weight training.
Applied Hockey Science emphasizes strength training programs that focus on athleticism, and sport specific strength as it relates to the game of hockey. This in turn produces hockey players that are faster, stronger, more agile and in better condition on the ice, WHERE IT COUNTS!
"BUILDING BETTER HOCKEY PLAYERS THROUGH SCIENCE"
Applied Hockey Sciences Established Since 2000
"I would like to thank the Canadians for inventing the game of hockey so we could develop the game."
- Anatoli Tarasov
Father Of Russian Hockey
Notice the slim upper bodies of Dynamo Moscow Captain Igor Dorofeev (Left) and Craig Shepherd (Right) in this photograph taken at Baza Dynamo in Novogorsk, Russia. Even though most high school, Jr., and college hockey players could outperform most Dynamo Moscow players on weight room strength tests; the results on the ice would be far less dramatic. On the ice Dynamo Moscow is an international powerhouse which utilizes speed, agility and athleticism gained by proper hockey specific training.