Young hockey players who are looking to make the jump to a higher level of hockey will often have to go through hockey fitness testing or hockey “combines” where their fitness levels are tested in a variety of different ways.
Preparing for a hockey combine or fitness testing is very important. Although on ice performance is of course more important, a lot of teams look at the fitness levels of hockey players when making their decisions. Fitness levels directly correlate to on ice performance, and to play at any high level of hockey you will need to be in top shape.
Training and preparing for a hockey combine should be started well before the combine date. In order to perform at a high level you should give yourself a few months head start. If you have a combine or hockey fitness testing coming up – it is better late than never.
What Will I Be Tested In At My Hockey Combine?
Well every hockey combine and fitness testing will be different, but you can expect most to be modeled around the NHL combine.
The NHL uses the following tests for their combine: Height, Weight, VO2 Max, Wing Span, Standing Long Jump, Curl-ups, Push ups, Grip Strength, Bench Press, Push/Pull Strength, and Upper Body Power.
Depending on the level of hockey you are at, your testing may be a lot more basic than the testing the NHL does. The basic categories of all hockey combines and fitness testing include cardiovascular levels, strength, explosiveness (especially lower body), and core strength.
So How Do I Train For A Hockey Combine?
My best advice is to first of all give yourself lots of time before the date of your combine to train. Start off by not worrying about the exercises you will have to perform at the testing, and more on overall fitness level. Train like a hockey player and cover all areas mentioned above. As you get closer to the combine you will want to start focusing or dialing in on those specific exercises.
Get a list of the exercises you will have to perform at the combine you are attending and set yourself a specific day of the week (I like Friday) where you will completely just focus on going through the testing like you will when the day comes. This will get your comfortable with the exercises and come combine day you and your body won’t be thrown off by the tough testing.
Remember to perform other exercises while training for the combine that will directly correlate to the fitness testing. For example, if you are training for the push up test you don’t want to only be doing push ups. You should be performing bench press movements (dumbells are my favorite), weighted push ups, and exercises that work other muscles used in the push up (triceps are a big one). Another example would be performing Olympic lifts (get help with these) to increase your explosiveness for tests such as the standing long jump.
And never to be overlooked is your nutrition. Make sure you are eating properly and staying hydrated during your training and leading right up to the combine. Visit our hockey nutrition section of our site if you need more information and help with nutrition.
In short: give yourself enough time to train, get familiar with the exercises, and most importantly train hard. Good luck with your testing!