Hockey Dryland Training: (Pt 2)

Here is Part 2 of  ‘Managing Muscle Tone’ blog post, from Cyclone Taylors new Hockey Blog. Travel Roller co-inventor, Adam Wood, is also a sport conditioning coach and he provided insight into proper off-season hockey training. In this post he explains what to look for in a strength and conditioning coach and the mission statements your dryland training should adhere to. Even though the article focuses on hockey dryland training, the vast majority of information remains true for off-season training in all sports. You want to have a better, more productive off-season? Follow this advice!

An aspiring athlete and their respective dryland coach both need to intricately understand the points detailed in Part 1 of ‘Off Ice Training Recovery – Managing Tissue Tone’ before the movement assessments or programming even starts. These issues need to be addressed from a starting point of tissue tone, tissue health, and the connected correct muscle firing patterns. This detailed level of knowledge is not taught within a regular kinesiology classroom or within a short period of time working as a trainer.


Always make sure you thoroughly check the credentials of the strength & conditioning (S&C) coach you are working with, or you will find your soft tissue system over stiff, over worked, and shortly thereafter, injured. Beyond their university degree credentials and certifications, you want to see testimonials from high performance athletes, and you want them to have worked with or mentored under programming at the top level of sport. Without this level of investigation into the education of the S&C coach and your program, it may just turn into another experiment of we call ‘smoke and mirrors conditioning.’ This is an analogy to describe how some training programs are like magic tricks, with no magic at all. Weird, eh?

The clear mission of off-season, or even in-season training is:

1) Injury prevention, and do no harm

2) Improve stability, mobility, agility and fitness

Without a skilled approach to movement and a thorough understanding of the demands of the sport overload and weakness pattern, most dryland training actually creates more injuries than prevents them. Many S&C coaches supply a huge supply of ‘smoke and mirrors’, stuff that looks great in theory, but in the end is not the truth to success for the development athlete or professional.


For example, some ‘smoke and mirrors’ type exercises seen before that are a sure way to create injuries:

CrossFit style conditioning circuit training with no movement quality parameters; just counting reps
Use of track warm-up exercises with no guidance on movement quality or posture
Use of Olympic lifts and squats before correct deep core firing patterns are developed
Mistimed and high volume plyometric jumps within a session or within a programmed period of training that endanger the athletes
Hard lifting on beaten down athletes

Some of these modalities are used by the professionals, but not without managing tissue tone and not without a properly sequenced training plan over many months of sophisticated regressed exercises. If you’re looking at getting an off-ice coach this summer, don’t look for the gym with the most weights and the biggest name, but instead with the trainer with the most testimonials and the most detailed use of preparation exercises (high level foam rollers and acupressure release balls as part of preparation and regeneration).


Some tips for the summer:

Release, open, and get massage into your adductors. Get the muscle tone of your groin muscles lower, more supple, looser, and then strengthen the groin with an arrangement of detailed body weight movements on the ground and in a standing position.
Get a high level personal trainer, physiotherapist, chiropractor, or kinesiologist to check your glute max function and your glute firing patterns. If you’re inhibited in your glute max and you have intermittent low back pain, find a passionate and knowledgeable dryland coach to teach you how to reverse this. With these changes, you’ll be well on your way to hopefully becoming the next hockey legend!



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