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Why Does Hockey’s Popular “Off Ice” Training Suck So Bad?

image The following artice is sent to us by Matt "Greazy" Sauve. Hockey Training and Injuries. Those with a decent understanding of human performance can easily spot the fuzzy logic of the popular off ice conditioning programs developed by the modern fitness gurus. Back in my days of competitive hockey, our off season training program consisted of body building and long slow jogs. Our "strength and conditioning program" made us bulky and slow. Just what we need for a speed/power sport like hockey. It took us 2 months just to recover from our off ice training. Today's pop training is a whole new brand of lunacy. Except for those who ignore the fad training such as Chris Chelios (intense functional movements similar to Crossfit), Daniel Briere (Flips tires for time with power lifters) and a some Russian players (olympic lifting) most are doing the following: 1) Juggling or wallowing around on a Bosu/swiss ball. These cartoon like beach balls are hilarous. Performing a squat on them or catching fast moving balls on top of one of these things can look cool, but they are about as effective for hockey training as juggling in a circus. A swiss/bosu ball is at best ineffective at Improving speed, power, strength, Cv Cr endurance, stamina, and flexibility. They are touted for improving balance and coordination.....how about skating or stick handling to improve balance and coordination? 2) Sport specific training. Do we really need a skating machine? Doesn't ice work better?? 3) Riding a bike for an hour after the game is over. This one makes no sense to anyone who knows about strength speed and power and their relationship to stamina. The last thing a warrior needs after a game is to be further run down by a long slow monostructural movement. . Let them get a good meal and some sleep then run them through a short intense workout the next day. Building strength speed and power as well as stamina and Cv Cr endurance is far more effective using constantly varied, intense multijoint functional movements. Combined with rest and proper nutrition (I'll save that for the next rant), it produces monsters. IT IS REALLY SIMPLE.....LISTEN UP. POWER TO WEIGHT RATIO IS KING What hockey players need from their off ice training program is superior power to weight ratio (and strength to ratio as a by product). We are no different than cars planes and boats. Power to weight ratio is King. Picture two cars. Car A weighs 3,000 pounds and has 200 horse power, car B weighs a bit more, say 3,200 lbs but has 500 horse power. Who wins the race? It works the same way in Hockey. If power = work/time = Force X Disctance / time we can easily calculate a hockey players horsepower output. "Fran" (21,15,9 of thrusters and pullups) is a classic example. If a 200lb man can do Fran in 3 minutes he will have produced 1/2 horse power per second for 3 minutes. This is elite fitness and an elite power to weight ratio. I suspect that not one Vancouver Canuck could do a fran in under 10 minutes. What would happen if every one on the team could do a sub 3 minute Fran....or a sub 9 minute Helen (400m sprint, 21 Kb swings, 12 pullups x 3 rounds)??? Would it help them on a hockey rink???? HELL YEAH If they posess hockey skill (you have to practice and be good at the sport specific skills) to go with this power to weight ratio they will run over, skate around, pummel and dominate teams physically. Wouldnt that be sweet music to the ears of any Canuck fan who has endured watching its team get physically overmatched for more than a decade? It is time for the hockey world to wake up and smell the clean and jerks, kipping pullups, overhead squats, muscleups, 40m sprints and stop wallowing around on spongy balls and spinning their feet slowly in a circle. Post comments if you agree or disagree or have something else to add.