Effective Off Ice Hockey Training
Off ice hockey training has been an area of extreme interest to me ever since I played college hockey. You see, I was the kid that had some talent, not much but enough, to play on the top teams growing up. But, I was a tall, underweight, and physically weak as a defenseman. As you know, those traits don’t go well together! It wasn’t until I reached college and my hockey coach put the a large emphasis on off ice training that I really started to develop. To make a long story short, I often wonder what might have been if I had started an off ice hockey training program in my early teens?
Since I interviewed Washington Capitals strength and conditioning coach, Mark Nemish, last summer I have been looking for an off ice hockey training program that matched his philosophy. If you’re going to do dryland training, why not train like some of the best hockey player in the world?
Well, the other day, Jeremy Weiss contacted me about his newly released S3 Formula Hockey Training System. After reviewing his 20-week program and training videos, I found that it matched very well to what Mark Nemish had suggested.
The following are examples of how the S3 Formula matches what Mark Nemish prescribed.
First, Coach Nemish listed the following as his top 3 tips off-ice hockey conditioning:
- Make sure that you are being coached in performing the exercises in the program correctly…
- Make the clear distinction between activity and accomplishment…too many athletes perform the activity of training but don’t progress at the rate they should because they don’t train hard or smart enough.
- Nutrition plays a huge role in training gains or adaptations…your composition and timing of nutrition is very important.
The S3 Formula addresses Coach Nemish’s tips perfectly!
(This is the main reason I can recommend this program for youth hockey)
- Emphasis on technique and safety is a big deal in the S3 Formula. The S3 Formula contains a video exercise bank with 57 videos (one video for each exercise prescribed in the program). These videos contain the main “key points” to focus on with each exercise, then show actual demonstrations of the proper technique. The videos are downloadable so players can import them into their ipods, and bring them to the gym with them.
- They have structured the S3 Formula in a way that is EXTREMELY trackable. Worksheets and progress reports let the athletes see their progress, and motivate them to compete against their previous scores and records.
- Like Coach Nemish, Jeremy is also a firm believer in the importance of proper nutrition in athletics. There is a complete section of the S3 Formula members’ area dedicated to nutrition. They also have meal plans to suit hockey players of different ages and sizes that were prepared by a nutrition specialist as well as a number of videos, audio interviews, and articles in the materials section that deal with subjects like pregame meals, carb loading, and eating to replenish energy stores in tournament settings with multiple games over a weekend.
In the interview, Nemish also indicated the following areas where players are most prone to mistakes with regard to strength and conditioning programs.
Players don’t train hard enough at times and also don’t know when to listen to their bodies and back off at the right times. Also, many players do not pay enough attention to some very important, but overlooked, training variables such as length of rest periods, speed of the repetition, and restoration techniques.
What Jeremy and his S3 Formula say on this topic!
I agree with coach Nemish, particularly with respect to “listening” to their bodies. I’ve always said there’s a fine line between peak performance and injury. The best athletes learn to walk that line with skill and precision. This might mean skipping an exercise, or dropping the weight way down to focus more on technique from time to time.
Another mistake I would add to that is players who get into the weight room without a plan. Workouts must be structured, specific, and goal-oriented in order to be effective. They also must be performed consistently. Having a plan is VERY important in this regard.
Here is the advice that Mark Nemish gave for a hockey player’s off-season conditioning program.
One very important variable for improving power is to intend to move loads as quickly as possible especially with regards to training the legs. Speed kills in this sport and taking advantage of sound training principles to enhance leg power is important. In addition to intending to move loads quickly, regardless of whether they are light or very heavy loads, improving one’s off-ice sprint speed is important as well. Sprinting for 10-30 yards while pulling loads on a sled will help accomplish that. Finally, don’t do too much on-ice training or conditioning too soon in the summer. I don’t like to see players get on the ice much sooner than the beginning of August.
Absolutely! Jeremy indicates that Hockey speed is comprised of 3 main components:
- On-ice technique (low posture, full strides, pushing off at the proper angle)
- Foot speed (quickness of stride repetition, agility, ability to change direction quickly)
- Leg Strength and Explosive Power (amount of power within each stride, how explosively that power can be used, recoil after each stride).
The S3 Formula is an off-ice strength and conditioning program, with not much focus on skating technique. However, it does focus a TON on the second two elements – quick feet, and explosive strength and power. This through a structured series of agility drills, leg-strengthening exercises, and explosive plyometric training.
General weaknesses that Coach Nemish indicated he finds most often when training hockey players – Abdominal strength!
Abdominal strength and balance about the core and hips (ie flexibility and strength). This leads to trouble down the road in the form of lower abdominal tears and frequent groin tears.
Does the S3 Formula address abdominal and core strength?
Yes. The program prescribes a blistering ab routine,as well as quite a few “functional exercises” that engage the core while working on other muscle groups. An example of this is the Bosu Push-up, using a Bosu Ball and a Stability Cylinder (As seen below).
Making It Easy To Use!!!
One other aspect that I think any fitness program (web-based or not) must address is ease of use and easy to follow instructions. So many people fall off the fitness wagon because programs are too difficult to follow.
The S3 Formula is set up in a way that is very simple to understand. They provide a workbook that shows you each exercise to perform each day, along with the number of required sets and reps. Just to be sure everything is crystal clear, they’ve also created an instructional video that gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the workbook.
As mentioned before, there is a video demo of each exercise––so there’s no confusion on which exercise is being prescribed. These videos can be downloaded and imported to an ipod … and if you don’t have an ipod, there’s also a printable exercise guide you can keep with your workbook that contains the same info as the videos, along with pictures of each exercise.
Simply, they really have gone to great lengths to ensure that this is as easy to follow as possible!!
What is really important about the S3 Formula is that it’s a hockey specific training program. Hockey players should train to be hockey players, not bodybuilders or runners etc. A sport specific off ice training program for hockey is a great way to gain a competitive edge over your competition.
More About Off Ice Hockey Training and The S3 Formula
You can get on Jeremy’s mailing list, take advantage of some great free training videos and learn more about the S3 Formula here. The full 20-week program is just $147.