T Nation

Hockey Program


As a new user I thought I would post the weight training portion of my own personal program. This program is geared towards preparation for hockey. The exercises and basic philosophy behind the program owes a debt to many different sources(among them Coach Davies). This program has allowed me to add 10 pounds of lean mass in the past four months. In addition, I have been able to make consistant gains in strength by following this program. Perhaps the biggest benefit that I have derived from following this program is the improvement in how I feel on the ice. So anyways, here it is.

The program is designed to last for 16 weeks and is broken down into four different phases. The rep scheme unless otherwise indicated:
wks. 1-4: 4x8 reps(not including clean based lifts)
wks. 4-8: 4x3
wks. 8-12: 4x5
wks. 12-16: 4x8

The key exercise in the program is the hang clean. It is performed in some fashion on each of the three days. In the first two days, 1 day will focus on improving the amount of weight lifted, while the other will focus on increasing bar speed with a constant weight(for me 135 lbs.). In each 4 week phase, the strength and speed days will rotate after two weeks

Box Jumps 3x5
Power Jerk 1 near max attempt
Hang Clean/Power Jerk 3x3-5/5x3(135 lbs.)
Stability Ball Row 4x8
Crunch on Ball(added weight) 4x10

Hang Clean 1 near max attempt
Hang Clean 4x5(135 lbs.)/4x3-5
Front Squat
Romanian Deadlift
Bulgarian Split Squat
Jacknife 4x6

Straddle Bench Jumps 3x5
The Bear(complex) 4x6
DB Press
Pull-ups 2x max reps
Chin-ups 2x max reps

The focus on the non weight training days(Tues, Fri, Sun) is on anaerobic/aerobic conditioning, foot speed and core stability. Depending on the response to this post, I may go into more detail on the methods I use on these other days.

In conclusion(aside from apologizing for the length of this post), I am hoping to find out what the readers of this forum think about this program. Any responses would be appreciated and any questions in regards to the program I will do my best to answer.

I hate to see such a comprehensive post without a response.

Anyone versed in such routines care to give an opinion?


I am definitely no expert, so no flaming if people disagree. I just agree with KinghtRT that it sucks not to see any feedback on such a detailed post. Like I said I’m not an expert, but I have some knowledge in this area. My initial observations are as follows:

  1. I notice you are changing rep ranges but not number of sets from phase to phase. You might want to reconsider, especially for weeks 4-8, 4 sets might not be enough volume for optimal results.

  2. On the days you are attempting a new max for power movements, what is your warm up progression like?

  3. Are you planing on keeping exercise selection the same throughout all phases? I was surprised to see no back squats or conventional deadlifts.

Just my 2 cents

Thank you for your replies. I’ll attempt to adress the questions you raised. First of all I should note that this is the program I just completed. With the season fast approaching and more ice time available, I cut back my weightlifting efforts into more of a maintenance program focusing on high weights and very low reps. I’ll try to explain my thought process in regards to the specific issues raised by SKman.

  1. I was relatively consistent on my set volumes mainly because my weight work was only a portion of the total program. I am pretty sure that adding a higher volume of sets could have increased the amount of hypertrophy I experienced, however, I also had to try to ensure that I had sufficient energy reserves to work on the other facets of my program(aerobic/anaerobic system work, footspeed, and core stability).

  2. warm up progression
    hang pull/standard press 8x50
    hang clean/push press 8x70
    hang clean/power jerk 5x100
    near max clean or jerk attempt
    I would then progress into my work sets. I was going for the whole Poliquin style neural preparation where the heavy single would increase the bar speed on the subsequent sets.

  3. Exercise selection was constant. I did try to incoparate a hang snatch movement, but my technique was really ugly. I had planned to use the snatch in the spot in which I eventually ended up placing the bear. The relatively lighter loads of the bear(compared to the other two days) made the clean portion of that complex the most explosive of any of the days. In regards to the squat/deadlift portion, I once again am going to say that I chose those exercises to allow for strength gains while giving ample recovery for other workouts. My cardio and sprint work was all based on intervals at absolute maximum. From my experience with traditional squats and deadlifts, my rpms on the bike would fall off from where I knew I should be and thus I decided on the front squat, romanian deadlift and bulgarian split squat. I found that the rotation between strength and speed in the cleaning motions allowed me to stay relatively fresh in the workout. On the second day, when I was cleaning for strength, I would do the front squats next. When those cleans were done for speed, I would use the Romanian deadlift. I felt that by avoiding following heavy cleans with RDL’s, I was able to keep my lower back fresh and pain free. In addition, I would also have done heavy cleans in the previous workout as part of the hang clean/power jerk.

Those were the reasons behind the design of the program. I hope I was able to answer your questions satisfactorily. I would also like to thank you for putting in the time and effort to respond.

Hey Coxy,
If you have gained 10 lbs lbm then I’m not going to say the programs bites.
I do have a few questions:

  1. Why no snatches?
  2. What are you doing for weighted and non-weighted GPP?
  3. What are you doing for dynamic flexibility?
    4)What are you doing for agility?
    5)Do you do any tumbling?
    I don’t know that I would focus on only one hybrid lift at a time, I’d probably add more complexes. I would also move away from max to more sub max work and add a few exercises like hi rep reverse hypers, glute ham raises some delt work and definitely add abdominal and forearm rotational work.
    Just some thoughts.

Hey Coxy,
Sorry dude I was already typing this one when your second post was posted.
That explains why no snatches. Another question though is why no jump rope but you are on the bike?

Hey T-Ren
I thought I would attempt to reply as best as I could to the issues you raised in your post.

My understanding of GPP is relatively limited. I get the concept, but am somewhat unsure of how to apply it to my particular program.

My agility drills were taken from Peter Twist’s(Vancouver Canucks strength coach)book “Complete Conditioning for Ice Hockey”. I would do them first(after warm up and stretch), then a core stability program I got from a trainer who works with NHL players, I would then get on the bike for either an interval sprint workout(Taken from a Mike Boyle template) or the Aerobic Power Interval Program of the Canadian National Team(3 and 4 minute intervals). As for dynamic flexibility, I really did’nt do too much as I am not that well educated in that particular area.

As for your suggestions in terms of the addition of more complexes, my reasoning behind keeping my weight workouts short(both in number of exercises and low rep ranges) was that the main thing I was going for in the gym was strength improvements. The one I was personally most happy with was that I was able to raise my power jerk from 160 to 230 over the course of the program. I tried to keep my reps relatively low because I wanted to avoid lactic acid buildup with the weights. My bike work was targeted around that system and I wanted to give as much as I could to that. Occasionally in my core stability work, I would include a plate circuit consisting of Bulgarian split squats followed by cross over step ups while holding a single plate over my head(straight arms). These circuits would last for 30-45 seconds and provide more of a challenge to my balance and cardio than my strength. I tried to ensure that my weight workouts were challenging, but did not result in any lasting DOMS, as I was doing some form of training 6 days a week and on my “rest” day I had mens league. Most weeks, I was also on the ice at least one other time. The reason I did not include any rotational forearm work is that I took alot of shots on the ice and even spent two weeks working at a goalie school shooting pucks(try doing pull ups or cleans when you’ve been taking clappers for six hours, ouchaa). I did not do any tumbling, but I would be interested to hear your suggestions for implementing it into a hockey program.

The program that I settled on was the result of trial and error from the previous few off seasons. For example, I used the same interval program, but changed it from sprinting to the bike. The reason I did that was that I had found during the previous summer when I did the sprints, since I was doing them after my plyo’s and foot speed, my feet began to hit flat. As a result, I had a brief injury late last summer. My program for next off season will probably attempt to shift the intervals back to running, as I have moved the high intensity plyo’s(box jumps etc.) to a place preceding two of the three weight workouts.

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to give me your thoughts and any further feed back would definitly be appreciated.

p.s. by the way, any athletes who are concerned with lactic acid builup would do well to purchase one of the Endurox formulations(either in pill or mix form), they do make a noticeable difference and I highly recommend them.