Conditioning for Hockey

Written by Dustin Roux. Posted in Featured, Training

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Published on October 06, 2010 with 2 Comments

Looking for some good conditioning for hockey?

Well, what is conditioning exactly? Everyone uses this term, but not many people actually no what it means.

Hockey-wise, let’s clear up what conditioning is not…

Conditioning is not running 3 miles twice a week. Running 3 miles, or 1 mile every night will not get you more conditioned for the sport of hockey. In fact, it may make things worse. Why is this?

The reason is that hockey is not a marathon. It’s not an endurance event. It’s a mix of anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. This is why hockey players wanting to improve there VO2 are getting nowhere.

So what you should to get better conditioned?

On-ice, or on-rink conditioning is your best bet. I like doing something like this:

  • Circle to Circle 2x , followed by a rest interval of 2.5 times the time it took you
  • Skate from the middle dot of one circle to the middle dot of the circle on the far end. If it takes you 20 seconds to complete, rest for 50-60 seconds, and repeat. Do this for 5 minutes, or about 5-6 reps at the end of practice and you will see your “in game endurance” go up a bit. Once this gets easy, increase the amount of reps, and begin decreasing the rest intervals.

Let’s be clear that this is for conditioning. Working on speed at the end of practice is not a smart way to get faster. Sprints or starts should be done at the beginning of practice while the body and nervous system is still fresh. At the end of practice your body is fatigued and you could face the possibility of injury, or possibly ruin your skating technique.

If you don’t have rink time to condition, go to a football field or track and try the following.

  • 120’s: Sprint 120 yards (100 yards down, 20 back) Then walk or slow jog back to the goal line. Again, shoot for a rest ratio of 1:3 or somewhere around that. So for a 30 second sprint, rest or slow jog/walk 90 seconds and go again. With most of my high school athletes we start around 6 reps with this and work our way up or down based of their physical preparedness. If someone gets 6 easy, we bump up to 8-10 the following week. After you continue to higher, around a number like 14-15 reps, increase the intensity of the sprint (90%-100%), or decrease the rest interval by 10-15 seconds.

Is this exactly 100% how I do things with my athletes? No, but this is a good start for some of you. When I write programs for athletes that I train 1 on 1 they are a lot more specific and detailed because I can see them in person. I know there body composition, their limitations, their previous injuries, and I know more about there skill level as a hockey player, football player, or whatever sport they may play.

Try something like this if your confused about how to get more ‘game ready’. Leave a comment or send us an email and let us know what you think.

Dustin Roux


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About Dustin Roux

Dustin Roux is the president and owner of Roux Strength Training. With a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and Movement Science, Roux has acquired the skills to properly assess and develop athletes through performance enhancing techniques. Roux has also competed as an elite ice and inline hockey player for over 15 years. Over the past 4 years Roux has been a member of the US Inline Men’s National Team.

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There are currently 2 Comments on Conditioning for Hockey. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Hey Dustin-

    Im a 43 yr old who is finally getting started playing hockey. I am in my 2nd season in roller hockey and I love every second of it.

    I have recently taught myself to skate backwards and to make the fwd/bkwd/fwd transitions and plan on trying my new ‘skill’ tonite during the game.’

    My question is this… I have done P90X (to build some strength) and I am now doing the Insanity program in an effort to gain some cardio endurance.

    I dont have much access to a rink except on game days, nor do we have organized practices… so I’m doing all of this on my own.

    Aside from your suggestions on conditioning above, could you please, suggest some more things I could do in order to increase my stamina? Maybe the proper foods to eat on game day, or how to conserve energy on the floor?

    If you have any suggestions for learning backward crossovers, that would be great too.

    I love your site here and come here quite often.

    Thanks for your time and cooperation.


    Matt K.

  2. Hey Matt, Shoot me an email at

    I can help you with a lot of the issues stated above.

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