As hockey players, staying in shape is essential to your overall gameplay. If you think about it, you are on the ice mere minutes during a game, so you absolutely have to bring your best. While leg strength is incredibly important, cardio is often left out when it comes to training, but it is essential. We asked the team at Hockey Pursuits for cardio exercises you should add to your workout routine and this is what they said.
To begin with, cardio exercises should be divided into traditional cardio, HIIT (high intensity interval training) exercises, and metabolic sprints.
The tried and true cardio methods are what will help build endurance to make sure you give the best at the beginning of a game and all the way until the end of a game. Cardio will increase your lung function, allowing you to breathe easily for an hour of gameplay. While running might be the first cardio exercise that people think of, there are other cardio exercises that can have similar results without the impact.
Cardio exercises include:
- Rowing Machine
- Stationary Bike
- Stair Climbing
HIIT is cardio where you alternate periods of high intensity with periods of low intensity. Normally, it is four minutes of high intensity workouts combined with three minutes of recovery, but you can also do lower amounts, such as two minutes of high intensity and a minute of recovery. There are even some schools of thought that recommend doing high intensity for 20 minutes then resting for 10 seconds and then going again. The effect that is different with HIIT workouts is that you will see results quicker than with traditional cardio and it is also good for your metabolism. Most traditional workouts can be turned into HIIT workouts, but it is easier with some exercises more than others.
HIIT exercises include:
- Treadmill (Running and Walking)
- Stationary Bike
- Outdoor Track (Running and Walking)
- Rowing Machine
- Elliptical Machine
Metabolic sprints refer to specific type of running workouts. This type of training is ideal to do before your next hockey season starts. Metabolic exercises include a variety of sprints for different amounts of time and distances. Ideally, you should do each movement at a high intensity for about 30 seconds to a minute then give yourself the same amount of time to recovery. These workouts focus on all of your leg muscles, which is different than the more traditional exercises.
The different sprints include:
- Straight Sprints
- Side Shuffling
As is the case with any workout, you must make sure that you warm up and cool down properly. A good warm up should last about five minutes and your cool down should be the same. Your warm up should include minor cardio with light stretching. You will need to make sure to stretch thoroughly after your workout as well to help ward off any soreness.
Most cardio workouts need to be a minimum of 30 minutes in order to help you reach your goals, but you might want to work up to longer workouts if your goal is to have a good amount of stamina to last throughout the game. If you HIIIT workout has short intervals, you will find that you have trouble making it to the 30 minute goal, simply because you are exhausted. That is ok as well. You can work up to being able to work out for longer periods of time.
Before you start any workout, make sure that you consult with your physician to make sure that the workout that you are choosing is safe for you to do.