Hockey Conditioning Tips: No Training Gaps!

Hockey Conditioning Tips
Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban

Canadian Master Strength coach Clance Laylor shares his hockey conditioning tips


By Clance Laylor


“Clance is the reason why my game is where it’s been for the past couple of years,” says NHL Superstar, P.K. Subban. “Back to the short (2012-13 lockout) season, when I won the Norris Trophy, I remember how I felt that year and every year since then. It’s probably made the biggest difference in my career.”

As a training and conditioning coach, I notice athletes are starting to take too many days off training. So I offer these hockey conditioning tips.

“Coach, I’m tired.”

“Coach, I’m sore.”

“Coach, my pinky hurts. I’m going to take the day off.”

There is a difference between being sore and being injured. When you are not training, use active recovery—swim, ride a bike, do yoga, or med ball and ab work.

Work on skills: stickhandling, shoot a basketball, do football drills; but make sure you are active those days. Do not just sit on around on your days off.

During the Colombian Weightlifting team’s 2015 Toronto Pan Am Training Camp visit, a Canadian coach said to me: “There is no way a Canadian athlete could train so frequently without drugs!”

Really? The Colombians train 10 times a week (my daughter also trains 10 times a week).

Mark McKoy, the Olympic champion in the 110-meter hurdles, only took one day off every seven weeks. This goes to show you just how well the body can adapt to a high frequency of training.

P.K. went years without a vacation during summer training. The first vacation I remember him taking was after he was awarded a $72 million contract. No hockey camps during the summer, just weights, sprints and skating—that’s it, day in and day out. Other kids would be at some camp, going to a concert, lounging at home watching TV, you name it. P.K. would not have any of that.

I’d literally have to pull P.K. out of the gym! On Sundays, he would call me and beg to train. And he would train twice a day.

Hockey Conditioning Tips

That’s training frequently, and taking my hockey conditioning tips seriously.

A few years ago, my daughter Maya had a pretty bad accident during a competition. She ended up getting a cast on her arm for a good 6+ months. She would still do exercises that didn’t involve her arm. But as soon as Maya had surgery, she was in the gym training around the injury.

She still could not use her arm, so I had creative ways to load her: Belt squats; squats balancing the bar with one arm; safety-bar squats.

By training frequently without gaps, the doctors were blown away by how fast she healed and the improved strength of her elbow. She went on to break her previous records during her first competition back.

Clance Laylor is one of the top names in professional strength training, and one of only 4 in Canada to hold the Level 5 Master Coach designation through the Poliquin International Certification Program (PICP). The Founder of LPS Athletic Centre in Toronto, he is the secret weapon of competitive athletes, coaches and champions. One of his clients is Nashville Predators star P.K. Subban, who won the coveted Norris Trophy and an Olympic Gold at Sochi in 2014 as part of Team Canada.

Respected for his tough, results-driven focus and scientific methodologies, Laylor also trains key NHL players on the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, and works with leading coaches to develop custom programs to optimize the performance of their athletes. Laylor is also in high demand as a speaker on a variety of topics dealing with strength training and athletic performance is reader supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

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