Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Hockey Workout - Fighting Irish Style - By Aaron Hillmann

Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on September 21, 1999

The doors to the Joyce Center Athletic Weight Room were opened at 6:12 AM on Friday morning. The hockey boys strolled in as a team for their final workout of the week. We began the warm-up as a team with 7 minutes of work on the Quick Foot Ladder from Speed City and a five minute stretching routine. The fellas were sweating and ready for the REAL work to begin.

Master of Puppets (Metallica) was cranked up to ear deafening decibels. We started with 12 reps of manual resistance neck flexion and extension. The boys have been taught how to provide manual resistance and how to lift with manual resistance. Both of these movements are done slowly while lying on an exercise bench. Muscular failure is the goal, with perfect form and spotting technique. After the neck work we completed 2 sets of twenty reps on the seated dumbbell shoulder shrug. A priority misplaced on developing the neck and trapezius musculature because of the violent collisions in the sport of hockey. After the neck and trap work the team split into two, half to do the upper body portion of the workout and half to do the lower body portion of the workout. They were required to complete each half of the workout in 15 minutes before we switched. The upper body workout today consisted of a chest press (their choice of BB or Hammer Strength Incline Press or Hammer Strength Flat Bench Press) done for 3 sets of 15 reps, descending in weight each set. Each hockey player is paired with one partner and it is the partner's job to ensure proper form and intensity on each set, with a lot of positive reinforcement given by the strength coach.

The second upper body exercise was an upper back pulling movement (their choice of Hammer Strength High Row, Hammer Strength Pulldown or Hammer Strength Rowing), again they completed 3 sets of 15 brutal reps, each set the weight was lowered about 25% from the previous one. The third exercise was another pressing movement (choice of BB Close Grip Bench Press or Dips), 2 sets of 15 reps with perfect form and intensity. The upper body workout was completed with one set of 12 manual resistance reps on the preacher curl bench using a towel to grab onto. The goal of the spotter is to beat the living piss out of their partner, ensuring proper form and intensity.

The Notre Dame Hockey Team takes their lifting and spotting very seriously. The lower body workout today consisted of three or four exercises each done with no rest in between sets. One set each taken past muscular failure. When we train past muscular failure this means forced reps with the negative (lowering) portion of the rep being emphasized. We don't normally train past muscular failure but once or twice in any two week period we will crank the boys up. The first exercise in the lower body workout was Hammer Strength Leg Extension or Stability Ball Squats against the wall. We shot for around twenty reps on this first exercise. We chose leg extension or ball squat to emphasize the quadriceps and we have one leg extension and two balls for ball squats, with about 15 guys doing leg sat the same time we had to give them a choice. From here the spotters rushed their training partners to the floor for manually resisted leg curls for the hamstrings. The emphasis here is again on the negative part of each rep, going through a full range of motion. We shot for 15 reps. Normally we will use the Romanian Deadlift or The Westside Barbell Club Reverse Hyper Machine for hamstrings, but occasionally we do a leg curl movement and today was one of those days. After leg curls we rushed to the final leg exercise of the day. They had a choice between BB Squats, DB Deadlifts, Hammer Strength Leg Press or a Cybex Squat Machine.

Our policy here at Notre Dame is those they CAN Barbell Squat Do Barbell Squat. Some individuals have body leverages or previous injury that does not allow them to Barbell Squat effectively, safely and with an appreciable amount of weight. In this case we do alternatives (Deadlifts, Leg Presses, etc.) We again shot for 20 reps on this last exercise. Best of the day in the BB Squat were 275 x 23 and DB Deadlift 100 x 32 (100 lb. Dumbbells in each hand). Not too shabby if you do leg extension and leg curl immediately prior to this. As an incentive to work and spot hard, we gave the hockey boys the option of a 60 second wall sit at the end of the 3 lower body exercises. This is done sitting at a 90 degree bend in the knees, back flat against a wall and not touching your legs. It's a real fryer after a lower body workout. About 5-6 guys "took" the option to further their intensity of effort. The workout finished with 20 perfect pushups done as a team, Military Style. "Down", "Up" "One!" was the cadence. We also did various abdominal crunching movements with body weight as a team to finish. Overall it was a great workout. 29 hockey players, one strength coach and the workout was completed in 56 minutes, warm-up included.

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