RIDGEFIELD ATHLETE PROJECT
What is the Best Hockey Strength and Conditioning Program
OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS Hockey Strength and Conditioning Program will vary depending on an individual athlete's specific needs, goals, and current fitness level. However, there are some key principles and components that should be included in any effective hockey training program for results:
Strength Training: Building strength is crucial for hockey players, as it helps with on-ice performance, body checks, and overall durability for best results. A PTP will focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows. Incorporate both heavy lifting for maximal strength and lighter, higher-repetition sets for muscular endurance.
Power Development: Hockey requires explosive power for skating, shooting, and checking. Plyometric exercises, Olympic lifts, and medicine ball throws can help develop power to train to excel.
Speed and Agility: Hockey players need to be quick on their feet and able to change direction rapidly. OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS will incorporate agility drills, ladder drills, cone drills, and sprints into your training routine.
Endurance: Hockey is an endurance sport, and players need good cardiovascular fitness to maintain high-intensity efforts throughout the game. A PTP will incorporate interval training, long-distance running or cycling, and shuttle runs into your program.
Core Strength: A strong core is essential for stability and balance on the ice. OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS will include exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises in your routine.
Flexibility and Mobility: Hockey players need to maintain a good range of motion in their joints to avoid injury and perform at their best. Stretching, yoga, and mobility exercises can help with this.
Nutrition: Proper nutrition is a critical part of any training program. OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS will ensure you're getting the right balance of macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fats) and staying hydrated to support your energy needs and recovery.
Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest is just as important as training itself. A PTP will ensure you're getting enough sleep and allowing your body time to recover between intense workouts.
Injury Prevention: A PTP will incorporate exercises that strengthen the muscles and joints that are prone to injury in hockey, such as the hip and groin area for optimum results.
Sport-Specific Training: An OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS Personal Training Professional will tailor your program to your position and playing style. Forwards may focus more on speed and agility, while defensemen may prioritize strength and shot blocking.
It's important to note that every player is unique, so it's a good idea to work with a PTP certified strength and conditioning coach who can design a program tailored to your specific needs and goals. Additionally, periodization (changing your training plan over time) is essential to prevent plateaus and ensure continued progress. Finally, consult with an OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS healthcare professional before starting any new training program, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or injuries.
Greg Herzog of OSTEOPATHIC FITNESS® has also designed a Ridgefield Sports ACL INJURY PREVENTION PROGRAM to help reduce injuries caused by weakness or imbalances to boys and girls in Ridgefield Middle School and High School Sports.
Like many Ridgefield teenager athletes deeply involved in sports, Ridgefield Sports players travel like professional athletes in their early teens.
It is not uncommon that a team with 18 players can suffer up to eight A.C.L. tears- eight during high-school years: or chronic ankle problems.
ACL Injury Prevention Program
The A.C.L. is a small, rubber-band-like fiber, no bigger than a little finger that attaches to the femur in the upper leg and the tibia in the lower leg and stabilizes the knee. When it ruptures, the reconstructive surgery is complicated and the rehabilitation painful and long. It usually takes six to nine months to return to competition, even for professional athletes.
“Just because a kid is good at a sport does not mean he or she has the foundational strength or movement patterns to stand up to constant play,” Mr. Herzog says. “What I’d like to be able to say is: ‘Before you engage in a sport like lacrosse, I am going to teach you how to move. And I am going to give you strength.”
Herzog’s Ridgefield Sports program has direct parallels with the research focused on biomechanics (the way athletes move) in no small part because gait patterns can be modified, unlike anatomical characteristics like wider hips.
Herzog points out that in his empirical research, boys and girls athletes have insufficient core muscle strength, balance or overall coordination to play safely. Their movement patterns put their knees and probably their ankles, hips and backs at risk.
One goal is to strengthen abdominal muscles, which help set the whole body in protective athletic positions, and to improve balance through a series of plyometric exercises forward, backward and lateral hops.
Greg stresses the importance of training boys and girls athletes as young as possible, by their early teens or even younger.
"Once something is learned neurally, it is never unlearned,” he says. “It never leaves you”.
That’s mostly good. It is why motor skills are retained even after serious injuries. But ways of moving are also ingrained, which makes retraining more difficult with the older athletes. The younger girls are more like blank slates. They’re easier to work with.
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