Hockey Training Tips

Welcome to Off Ice Hockey Training, where you will find hockey workout programs and training tips from a professional hockey strength coach.

If you want to take your game to the next level and compete on the ice you will need to train off the ice – that is no secret these days. We will help you take the guess work out of your hockey training, and will give you tips and workouts that will allow you to become a better hockey player.Our training is focused on making you a faster, quicker and more explosive hockey player, because these days being a fast hockey player is more important than ever.

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The two of us who run this website and the Elite Hockey System are Dan Garner and Kevin McClelland.  Dan is a popular hockey strength coach and nutrition specialist out of London, Ontario, while Kevin is his strength coach assistant also out of London.   You can learn more about us including all of Dan’s certifications on our About Us page.

Hockey Training Program

If you want a full training program designed specifically to make hockey players faster, quicker and more explosive you can get access to our training program at  This includes a full workout plan that you can follow along daily, with us telling you exactly what exercises to perform and how many sets and reps of each (even the length of your rest periods).  We also have nutrition guides, meal plans, recipe books, and more.  Check it out.

How we put together our off-season hockey training programs:

When constructing an off-season training prescription it’s important to incorporate five phases within the workout in the correct order. Whether it is a pro athlete being taken through an off-season training system or an up and comer, this is the optimal regime for a well rounded in-season training system.

PHASE 1: Balance

Balance training is always done even before the warm-up for a variety of reasons including:

1. Priming the body and mind for the training session.
2. Positive interaction with training partner’s and team mates during partner assisted balance exercises.
3. Training balance in a non-fatigued state.
4. Balance training has been shown in research to increase the neuro-muscular connection between the brain and the skeletal muscles, or what many people know as the “Mind-Muscle Connection”. Doing balance training before a workout to enhance neuro-muscular efficiency will lead to greater performance in the sport specific and weight training movements.
5. Greater mind-muscle connection results in more overall co-ordination and control of all movements. Leading to greater adaptations from exercise but also less risk of injury.

PHASE 2: Dynamic warm up

Dynamic warm ups are much more then just your standard warm up to increase body temperature, they:

1. Train movement and flexibility.
2. Psyche the athlete up for the training session.
3. Increase body temperature leading to an overall increase in performance and decrease risk of injury.
4. Allow synovial fluid to lubricate the joints.
5. Do a much better job overall as a warm up protocol then your standard jog.

PHASE 3: Sport Specific Movement

Sport specific movements are trained prior to the main compound weight lifting movements to enhance overall performance at a faster rate. We are training to become better athletes on and off the ice, not training to look like bodybuilders. That’s not to say strength / size doesn’t play a role in hockey, because it does. But when it comes to prioritizing your training schedule, sport specific movements come first. This is why:

1. Sport specific movements make you a better athlete, period.
2. Positively benefit speed, agility, quickness, high velocity direction change and deceleration.
3. They have the most “Carry Over” effect from the gym floor to the ice.
4. It makes much more sense to train sport specific movements before heavy weight lifting movements because sport specific movements will not tire you out before weight training, but weight training will tire you out before sport specific movements.
5. Weight training based training sessions are better utilized in the off-season to add mass and strength when it is your main priority. In-season your main priority should be performance and staying injury free.

PHASE 4: Resistance Training

Resistance training needs to be kept up 4 times per week to build strength and mass gains in the off season. Weight training is included to the off-season plan to support:

1. Size and strength gains
2. Create muscle insulin sensitivity for proper partitioning of carbohydrates in and out of the gym, or in English, more fuel for muscle as opposed to fat for fat cells.
3. Increase bone density which will help with your lifts and also decrease injury susceptibility.
4. Increase testosterone, growth hormone and many other anabolic pathways in the body.
5. Increase strength, flexibility, stability, power output, speed and endurance.
6. Increase muscle co-ordination and body awareness.

PHASE 5: Recovery

Recovery is just as important as training. Nobody actually grows muscle in the gym, training is only the stimulus for positive physical adaptations but the adaptations will never occur if the nutrients aren’t present to create that change. This phase is especially important during the off-season where we have the time to make the most gains we can. A large decrease in performance will without a doubt be present if you trained legs extremely hard the day before a big game. On the flip side, a decrease in performance will be evident in the gym after a big game. Making it very important to always be in a state of muscle tissue building (anabolic) as opposed to a state of muscle tissue breakdown (catabolic). A proper recovery plan includes:

Post-workout movement.
Foam rolling.
Minimum 7-9hrs sleep every night.
Proper nutritional protocol.
Proper supplementation protocol.

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