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22 Tue

The NHL is back.. Are YOU Ready to Play?

The NHL is back.. Are YOU Ready to Play?

Written by: Karen Tom, MPT, CSCS

Ahhh…THE NHL IS BACK!!! So, if you want to show off your hockey skills to be like Crosby, Parise (sorry Devil’s fans) or Stamkos, you’re going to need some help. Here are some physical therapy exercises to take your game to the next level, assuming you are in pretty good physical condition and have been cleared by your team Doc to play.

Intervals: Hockey is an anaerobic sport (or it’s supposed to be). Therefore, you should train in intervals, as you would ice time and shifts.  If your shifts are typically 30-45 seconds (as they should be) you want to perform intervals in those time frames. You can do intervals by running, biking, or (my personal favorite for hockey) using the slide board. The principle is simple: for any interval shorter than 1 minute, the effort vs. rest ratio should be 1:3. For the rest period, you should continue your activity, but only at about 20% effort.  So if you are exercising at 75-90% maximum effort for 30 seconds, rest for 90 seconds, then repeat.  If you are exercising at 50-75% effort for 90 seconds, rest 3 minutes, then repeat. Try to get up to a total of 45-60 minutes, with a 10 minute warm up and cool down.

Plyometrics: Jump overs. Set up at least three 6-12 inch barriers (books, boots, or if you’re really fancy 6-12 inch hurdles) about 2-3 feet apart (you can increase this distance as you get better).  Jump explosively forward to clear the barrier and continue through all 6 hurdles.  Perform 5-10 sets. This will help with your explosive starts, so you can be first to the puck.

Flexibility: Hockey players are notoriously tight in the hamstring area. If the hamstrings are tight, they will prohibit the skater from getting low with their chest up, to maximize speed. To stretch your hamstrings, lie on your back. To stretch the right leg, leave the left leg down and pull the right leg up towards your nose with your knee straight.  Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-6 times on each leg.

Don’t forget to do a dynamic warm up before engaging in any of these fun activities!  For more information on exercises to improve YOUR game, please contact our offices at 973-270-7417.

Our offices are conveniently located in the Madison & Summit Area YMCAs in New Jersey.  This makes it easy for our physical therapists to create an exercise plan for our patients and to instruct them correctly using the YMCA equipment.  You do not need a YMCA membership to visit us.

If you are interested in purchasing equipment such as the hurdles or slide board shown above, click on the “Perform Better” link at the bottom of our website.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

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