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Off-Season Hockey: Train Like the Pros


WRITTEN BY: Sports Medicine
Saturday, December 17th, 2016

At this time of year, youth hockey teams, coaches, and players are starting to think about their off-season training programs.

Because strength and conditioning training is vital to helping players achieve their potential, we asked Lorne Goldenberg, BPE, CSCS, CEP, director, UPMC Sports Performance, Powered by Gary Roberts High Performance Training, what an off-season training program might look like for a professional hockey player. And importantly, how that training can be applied to youth hockey players of all ages and skill levels.

Q: What kind of rest will the professional players take before starting an off-season program?

A: Typically, players will take two to three weeks off at the end of the season. They may take “active rest” during this time, doing some lighter workouts such as jogging, stretching, yoga, and tennis. These workouts are not structured with specific goals in mind and are completed by the player when and as they see fit.

Q: What kind of balance is there between on-ice and off-ice (dry-land) training in the off season? Are professional players on the ice more or less than you would think?

A: Focus during the off season is really on dry-land strength and conditioning training. Many players do not get back on the ice until after four to six weeks of dryland training is completed. Then, they will often train on-ice a few times a week for the duration of the off season.

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Q: How do professional players tend to train: on their own, with trainers and coaches, in small groups?

A. This is a personal decision for every player and will likely depend on their goals, past training experiences, where they spend the off season, and even the length of their off season. As a result, hockey players train on their own, in small groups, and with professional coaches and trainers.

Q: What do dry-land workouts focus on during the off-season, and how is that different from in-season?

A: Off-ice workouts during the season and off season focus on strength, power, speed, mobility, and conditioning. The difference between the two training periods is the volume of work that can be done. Because there are no games during the off season, a player may train for two or more hours per day and in multiple sessions per day. During the season, they may only train 20-30 minutes per day.

Q: Can you share a sample workout schedule?

A: A typical off-season workout schedule could look like this:

  • Monday – Strength/power, conditioning later in the day
  • Tuesday – Strength/power
  • Wednesday – Speed, agility, plyometrics (jump training), some conditioning
  • Thursday – Strength/power
  • Friday – Strength/power
  • Saturday – Speed, agility, plyometrics, some conditioning
  • Sunday – Off day

The principles of off-season training can be applied to many different sports, including soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball. To learn more about the sports performance programs and services, including on-ice and off-ice training for hockey, at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex website.

Sports Medicine

UPMC Sports Medicine is the region’s largest and most experienced center dedicated to caring for athletes of all levels. For more than 25 years of world-class care, we’re proud to offer more services, have more physicians, and treat more student athletes than any other sports medicine provider in the region. Read More