Training on ice while practicing hockey is not the only way to improve skate speed, strength, and endurance. Practicing on ice for hockey teams at the university level can become very expensive with the rising cost of ice rental. Off-ice training can bring hockey players to the next level, but other teams can not compensate for their practice on ice with an off-ice program.
There are four major elements to ice hockey training. Ability to drive other players out of the pack, agility to run around them, speed away from them, and endurance to stay ahead of them. While you work on more complex details of the game on ice, all these four elements can be trained from above the ice.
In one study, the crossover and the adjusted radius activate the ice and correlate well with two specific measurements outside the ice, the sprint time and the double limb jumps in the horizontal and vertical direction (Krause et al., 2012). It has also been shown that many changes in steering exercises along with flexibility training have been able to improve agility off the ice, which is related to the tasks of single ice, although the movements are slightly different.
There are many ways to train for agility off the ice. Along with double-limb jumps, hockey players can use plyometric exercises, such as box jumps or wide jumps, with a change in directional exercises, such as one leg jumps in lateral movements.
Strength is not only used when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage over the other player who fights in the tables for a puck but also is the best way to complement speed and agility. As elite players grow and become stronger, they can maintain the same levels of speed, agility and physical form that are usually reserved for smaller players. Along with the development of muscle mass and the strength of the whole body, Olympic lifts such as starting, cleaning and shaking are excellent for developing an explosive power that can be used to increase stride length and skating speed.
In hockey, there is a noticeable difference between the speed and ability of the players from the start of a 60-second turn to the end. This is caused by the change of the body from the anaerobic energy system to the aerobic system. For hockey players, the body requires about 69% anaerobic fitness and 31% aerobic endurance (Leger et al., 1979). Any improvement of the resistance obtained in ice training directly contributes to a player’s resistance in the ice, which can reduce the fatigue shown during a turn, as well as from the beginning of the game to the end.
Not only will you add these things to a training program off the ice to improve players before and during the season, but many of them can also be used to evaluate players out of season without taking the ice in inappropriate situations when the Ice weather is becoming more expensive.
As expected, the speed of the sprint is directly related to the speed of skating, specifically the 40-yard run, which makes sense when looking at the length of the ice rink (~ 67 yards). Along with the 40-yard running time, one study indicated that another test was an important prognostic factor for skating speed, the vertical jump (Janot, Beltz and Dalleck, 2015).
The speed of the sprint can be improved with modifications of a simple sprint such as sprints with resistance and sled pulls with a good technique, along with the advance of single and double jumps such as the wide jump. You can develop a higher vertical jump with exercises such as depth jumps and plyometric exercises as mentioned above. Another simple exercise for the vertical jump is the rope jump. While these exercises will increase your vertical jump, they must be accompanied by strength training like the Olympic lifts mentioned above.