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The New Way to Train for Hockey

Jakob Fannar / flickr

Conditioning for hockey has changed dramatically during the past few years. Peter Twist, one of Canada's leading strength and conditioning coaches, describes those changes in his new book, Complete Conditioning for Hockey, published by Human Kinetics Publishers. Following is an outline of what Twist refers to as "Previous Conditioning Plans" compared to "Modern Conditioning Plans." Most of the conditioning principles apply to other high-intensity, stop-and-go sports.


Old: Emphasize aerobic cardiovascular fitness.

New: Emphasize anaerobic fitness.


Old: Use VO2max testing.

New: Use anaerobic and on-ice testing.

Movement Direction

Old: Focus on linear movement, bike, and track training.

New: Incorporate unpredictable, multidirectional intervals.

Warm-up Activities

Old: Feature stationary warm-up activities.

New: Feature dynamic warm-up activities.


Old: Include forced, pre-ice stretching.

New: Include gentle, post-ice stretching.

Strength Training

Old: Feature machine-based strength training.

New: Feature whole-body, integrated lifts.


Old: Include slow tempo isolation exercises to overload muscles.

New: Include multi-joint, multiplanar lifts for explosive power.

Core Stabilization

Old: Include traditional sit-ups and floor-based stabilization

New: Include standing core stabilization and exercises for rotary power.

Speed, Agility, Balance

Old: Develop linear speed.

New: Improve deceleration and coupling between deceleration and first-step quickness.

New: Develop specific movement skills that link together for agility.

New: Include exercises that develop integrated balance for strength and transitional balance for change of direction.

New: Feature whole-body reaction skills and joint and muscle reactivity.

The information above is reprinted and adapted with permission from Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, IL.

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Tags: Agility, Energy System Development, Balance, Sports Performance, Hockey, Conditioning