You just finished your latest training session on the ice.
You put down your stick, slap off your gloves, and take off your skates.
Being an aspiring hockey player is hard work, but you’re determined to get better.
It’s your dream to become the best hockey player you can be and even make it to the big leagues.
To achieve this, you have to become better than the competition, and that means preparing yourself ... mind and body ... whenever you can.
You want to leave nothing to chance.
GET THE EDGE ON THE COMPETITION BY TRAINING AT HOME WITH POLYGLIDE SYNTHETIC ICE
Putting in the Work
It’s important to maximize your skill level and leave no doubt in the judge’s mind that you’re the best on the ice.
The best hockey players do as much work – if not more – off the ice than on it.
Now, there are multiple hockey off-ice training equipment to support your journey.
Your goal is to choose the best equipment available to improve your performance come game time.
Here are some must-have off-ice training equipment for aspiring players.
1. Get Stronger Off the Ice
As you progress in your hockey career, you’ll realize that strength plays a vital role in your performance.
Powerful forearms increase the speed of your shots.
And a strong core and upper body keep you upright as you run into your opponents.
It’s essential that you build a strong body off the ice through exercise and nutrition, especially as you move from teen to adult.
Some must-have off-ice training equipment for strength includes:
- Kettlebells: These versatile weights can be used to exercise almost any body part, taking them through a range of motion that standard dumbbells cannot do.A pair of adjustable kettlebells can help you build muscle off the ice.
- Forearm Strengthener: For powerful slap shots and a stronger, longer grip on your hockey stick, consider strengthening your forearms. These muscles are often overlooked for the biceps and shoulder workouts. A device like the Fitarc Grip Strength Trainer helps build your forearms and improve your grip strength.
- Pull-up Bar: Install a pull-up bar in your room, garage, or as part of your home gym. Pull-ups are an excellent compound exercise that targets your back, shoulders, and arms. It also improves your overall functional strength more than dumbbells or most exercise machines. A multi-grip pull-up bar helps you to build your strength off the ice in the comfort of your own home.
2. Get Faster Off the Ice
Speed plays a crucial part in hockey, with the average hockey player going between 12 and 20 miles per hour.
The faster you are on skates, the faster you can get to the puck, intercept a winger’s advance, or block a shot if you’re a goalie.
Improving your speed requires you to increase your reaction time, enhance your skating mechanics, and build a powerful lower body.
Here is some essential off-ice training equipment that can help build your speed.
- Slide Boards: Slideboards are long, rectangular boards that allow you to slide from one end to the next. You put on socks or special sliders and practice your skating technique while simultaneously increasing lower leg strength. High-performance slide boards are made of a self-lubricating synthetic ice polymer blend that gives that smooth skating feel, essential for improving your speed and stability.
- Speed Chute: Become faster and more explosive by incorporating sprinting into your weekly training. Studies show that sprinting can improve testosterone production and increase muscle mass while increasing your speed. Attaching a speed chute adds resistance to your sprinting, making you even faster over time.
- Speed Ladder: Amazing footwork translates into amazing blade work on the ice. Get a speed ladder, place it on the ground, and perform many drills that improve your speed and agility.
3. Improve Your Balance
At its core, hockey players need to balance on thin blades and move in sometimes unnatural positions.
Hockey players can be strong and fast, but if you have poor balance, it won't be easy to perform as you progress.
Spend at least one day in the week improving your balance and pushing the limits of balance on and off the ice.
Some great off-ice training equipment includes:
- Wobble Board or Balance Board: The 3-in-1 balance board training system by Revbalance helps you to improve upper and lower body balance. Place the board on the roller or air cushion, then practice standing or other balance exercises.
- Bosu Ball: A Bosu ball is a large exercise ball cut in half with a flat side. It sounds simple, but it’s a powerful exercise tool to improve your balance. Stand on the rubber side while practicing squats or one-legged deadlifts. Flip the ball over to improve your balance or strengthen your upper body.
- Plyometric Box: Get jumping with a plyometric box. Box jumps help with explosion but also balance as you do one-legged Box jumps.
4. Build Your Endurance
How long are hockey games? Including intermission, a professional hockey game can last 2.5 to 3 hours.
While you won’t be playing the entire game, hockey becomes a war of attrition.
The longer you can play and wear down your opponents, the better your chances of winning.
Off-ice endurance training improves your cardiovascular health and increases your endurance. Some helpful training equipment includes:
- Weighted Jump Rope: Jump rope is one of the best ways to improve your endurance. Weighted jump ropes make the activity even more complex and can be up to 10 times more effective than non-weighted ropes.
- Stationary Bike: Riding on a stationary bike allows you to build your endurance and improve your cardiovascular health. You can easily add a bike session before or after your workout.
- Row Machine: Like stationary bikes, row machines provide significant endurance benefits. However, these machines double as a full-body exercise, strengthening your core, legs, arms, and back.
- Smart Watch: A smartwatch is an underrated tool to help improve your endurance. You can track distance, time, and heart rate zones during cardio. Recording and monitoring your performance is a great way to increase your endurance over time.
Agility ladders and cones also help build your endurance.
5. Improve Your Shooting and Puck Handling Skills
Are you ready to shoot your shot?
Getting better with the puck is going to be your bread and butter.
Practicing close control and shooting can instantly make you a better hockey player, especially if you’re a winger or center.
It’s also the fundamental training new hockey players lean on, using a small ball and hockey stick.
However, at any stage, stick handling is essential to your success. Here are some hockey off-ice training equipment:
- Shooting Pad: A surface for practicing your puck handling and shooting is a must-have for aspiring players. These are often made of high-quality polyethylene, like PolyGlide’s Pro Skill Infused Shooting Pad, so you get the same feel as the ice. These shooting pads are especially useful in the off-season, like summertime, allowing you to work on your fine motor skills. While others are relaxing, you return better than ever.
- Puck Rebounder: Innovative stick handling aids, like PolyGlide's BounceBar Rebounder help you to improvise puck reaction drills with creative rebounder placement for "one-timers".
- Synthetic Ice Starter Kit: Instead of using your stick and a training ball, you can lace up your skates and use a puck on synthetic ice. A large synthetic ice pro glide panel made of high-quality polyethylene allows you to practice your essential moves off the ice in the comfort of your home.
6. Rest and Recovery Matters
Hockey is demanding on the body.
It’s a full-body endeavor that also has a high injury probability.
One of the best ways to avoid injury is to have a solid rest and recovery process.
It’s not just about sleep, which is extremely important for athletes, but also how you care for yourself and your muscles immediately after practice or competition.
Several scientific studies confirm the benefits of recovery for athletic performance.
Now, there are must-have tools you can use to improve recovery even more. Here are some examples:
- Cold Plunge Barrel: It sounds counterintuitive to go from skating on ice to diving into a tub of ice. However, ice has been shown to reduce the inflammation and soreness of athletic performance. It can also help boost essential hormones naturally to help with future performance. Try the Artic Therapy Tub, an affordable cold plunge barre.
- Massage your sore muscles: Your legs and arms become sore after hockey. You’re also likely to develop micro-tears, cramping, and inflammation. Foam rolling lengthens the muscle, breaks up scar tissue, and improves circulation. This 4-in-1 set targets your back, feet, and legs. Take things up a notch with the handheld Theragun Prime Deep Tissue Massage Gun. This will get to the areas your foam roller cannot.
- Track your sleep: High-quality sleep does play a role in recovery and future performance. The body gets time to heal and energize itself with restful sleep. Use a smartwatch or an app on your smartphone to keep track of your sleep, or invest in a smart ring that can track your sleep quality.
7. Invest in Hockey Off-Ice Training Equipment
Hockey is a physically and mentally demanding sport.
You must keep up with and beat the best to become the best.
The time you invest in hockey goes beyond training on the ice.
Your off-ice training matters as much, if not more.
The more disciplined and consistent you are, the faster, stronger, and more accurate you become.
These are just some hockey off-ice training equipment that can take your game to the next level.
Some are already accessible to you, while others require a small investment.
You can create a training plan that focuses on improving each part of your performance on a specific day of the week.
Thanks to technology, innovative tools like slide boards, and a wealth of information, it’s easier than ever to become better in the sport.
Are you willing to do what it takes to win?
These training tips are designed to enhance not just your physical abilities but also your mental agility, essential for on-ice success.
Consistency in practicing these exercises is crucial for boosting performance and preventing injuries.
The versatility of off-ice training means it can be adapted to various settings and skill levels, making it accessible for all players.
Improvement in hockey comes from this additional effort, setting apart the good from the great.
As you integrate these exercises into your routine, they become powerful tools in developing your speed, strength, and stamina, crucial for hockey success.
Embrace these training methods as key components of your hockey journey.
Stay motivated, challenge yourself, and enjoy the process of becoming a more skilled, confident player.
Here’s to your continued growth and success in the sport!