In-Season Off-Ice Conditioning for Hockey

Yesterday I received a❓ from an athlete asking why bike work is our primary off-ice conditioning tool in-season.

Fair question. Here’s why;

🗣 Hockey players live in a flexed hip position placing excessive continuous concentric and eccentric stress on the hip flexors and quads ➡️ not ideal for long term hip health. As a coach you need to understand the demands of the sport you are working with and develop your program around those demands.

❌ Shuttle Runs? Because of this, a sprint based conditioning session that would ask a hockey player to get into aggressive hip extension is a disaster waiting to happen ➡️ don’t be shocked if you find yourself dealing with a handful of hip flexor and/or quad strains as a result of a sprint based conditioning session

❌ Slideboard? Hockey players are prone to overuse injuries as a result of skating too much, the last thing you want to do is train a movement pattern that is always overworked.

✅ The answer is Assault Bikes, where we can essentially ‘save’ a players hips by either running or overworking a movement pattern. On a bike you just push down while spinning, a position where your hip flexors have to do very little work. The result is a difficult conditioning session without any glaring injury concerns.

🗣 Moral of the story ➡️ the primary goal is to keep the athlete healthy first and improve performance second. Could you get away with shuttle runs or slideboard without seeing any injuries? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.

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