Cold weather is sending a strong signal that high school and college ice hockey are not too far off. Even if you haven’t been training as intensely as you should, there’s still time to add muscle before the first puck drops.
Try the following three multi-joint, full-body combo workouts. Each uses bodyweight resistance, free weights, medicine balls and cables to increase upper- and lower-body and core strength for a powerful slap shot and to absorb hard checks into the boards this season. As with any weight training sessions, first perform a dynamic warm-up and finish with upper- and lower-body cool-down static stretches to promote greater full range flexibility.
Hockey Combo Workout One
(Heavy Resistance for Strength and Power, Using 90% of 1 RM)
Dumbbell Squats and Jump Squats
Ideal for building leg strength and size as well as core and upper-body strength.
• Holding heavy dumbbells at shoulder level with underhand grip, perform five squats
• Release weights and immediately do five bodyweight jump squats
• Rest 30 seconds
• Repeat sequence twice more
Heavy Medicine Ball Side Chops and Side Planks
Both of these exercises enhance core strength, particularly the oblique muscles. Side chops are especially useful for targeting the muscles needed for slap shots.
Sets/Reps: 3×5 each side
• Assume athletic stance holding moderately heavy (20- to 30-pound) medicine ball above left ear
• Explosively drive ball across body toward right ankle
• Pause one second and return to start position
• Do five repetitions
• Quickly switch, driving ball from right ear to left ankle for five reps
• Immediately follow with 30-second side planks, one on each side
• Repeat sequence twice more with two-minute rests between
Med Ball Side Lunges and Press-Outs Superset with Pull-Ups
Lunges and Press-Outs build leg, hip, chest and shoulder muscles, and Pull-Ups strengthen back, forearm and bicep muscles and grip strength—all necessary for stick control and shooting.
Sets/Reps: 2×10 per side
• Assume athletic stance holding 20-pound med ball at chest level
• Step laterally with right foot while simultaneously explosively extending arms and pressing ball forward
• Return ball to start position while dragging left foot close to right
• Continue lunges/press-outs for five reps, then reverse with left foot Side Lunges/Press-Outs for five reps
• Release ball and immediately follow with five Pull-Ups, holding last rep as long as possible
• Repeat each exercise once more
Hockey Combo Workout Two
(Moderate Resistance for Hypertrophy, Using 80% of 1 RM)
Cable Rows Superset with Explosive Push-Ups
Excellent upper body exercises for adding size through hypertrophy to your biceps, triceps, back and chest muscles.
• With cables set at waist height, face machine from two feet away
• Grasp handles, extend arms and explosively pull (one second) to waist
• Slowly return (three seconds) to start position for 10 reps
• Immediately follow with 10 explosive Push-Ups (hands leave floor between reps)
• Rest one minute
• Repeat sequence twice more, then rest one minute before next movements
Step-Ups and Overhead Med Ball Presses
Wonderful lower- and upper-body muscle builders, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, chest and arms.
Sets/Reps: 3×10 per leg
• Hold a 10- or 12-pound med ball at chest level with left foot on bench in front
• Press with left foot, raise right foot off floor (driving right knee toward waist) and simultaneously press med ball overhead
• Do 10 reps
• Quickly repeat with right foot on bench, raising left foot and pressing med ball overhead for 10 reps
• Rest 30 seconds and repeat sequences twice more
Supine Plate Pullover to Legs and Elevated Prone Planks
Plate pullovers build abdominal, chest, shoulder and upper back muscles; elevated prone planks are a terrific advanced core exercise.
• Lie on back holding 25-pound weight plate behind head with arms slightly bent
• Raise legs straight above chest
• Quickly pull plate up toward legs while lifting shoulders off ground
• Do 10 reps
• Immediately follow with Prone Planks with feet elevated on bench for 30 seconds
• Repeat sequence twice, then rest two minutes
Hockey Combo Workout Three
(Muscle Endurance Builder, Using 70% of 1 RM)
Dumbbell Walking Front Lunges/Upright Rows and Burpees
Both movements are stamina builders for those long shifts on the ice, enhancing lower- and upper-body muscle endurance.
• Hold dumbbells with overhand grip in front of body at hip level
• Lunge forward with right foot while simultaneously explosively pulling weights to chest level
• Return to start position
• Lunge with left foot while pulling weights up
• Continue alternate lunges with upright rows for 15 reps
• Release weights, immediately assume push-up position and perform 15 burpees (rapidly thrusting legs toward arms and jumping up and back to push-up position)
Med Ball Push-Ups Superset with One-Legged Dumbbell Cross Rows
Med ball push-ups are effective for pushing away opponents to gain control of the puck. One-legged cross rows improve balance, essential for ice hockey.
Sets/Reps: 3×15 per side
• Assume push-up position with both hands on med ball
• Do 15 fast push-ups
• Immediately stand on right leg (slightly bent) with left leg off floor, holding 20-pound dumbbell in left hand
• Drive weight across body toward right ankle
• Pause one second and return to start
• Do 15 reps
• Switch to left leg and use right arm for pulls to left ankle for 15 reps
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and featured GPW Expert. He currently works as Health and Wellness Director at the Greater Morristown YMCA.
Challenge yourself with the same training program that USA Hockey Forward, Hilary Knight uses to prepare herself for a demanding hockey season.
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