I have to admit that over the course of my “journey” of self-motivated learning, I’ve come across many people’s varying opinions on what hockey training should look like. I try my best to filter the good from the bad and present my thoughts on what I feel is important and at the same time try and challenge what I feel is a hockey training fad that doesn’t have positive carry-over to the ice and your performance. That’s where bike workouts for hockey players fits in.
In this case, I’ve come across a conditioning tool that may be overused in the hockey training community and one that should probably be left alone as much as possible.
As mentioned above, I’m talking about the bike. This tool, athough one that can produce a nice training effect, isn’t exactly your best friend when it comes to training for hockey.
First of all, we need to really look at what we do all day before we hit the gym or ice. More than likely, you’re sitting down to eat breakfast, you’re sitting down to drive to work or school, you’re sitting down for the majority of the day at work or school, you’re sitting down on your drive back home, you’re sitting down for dinner, and then you’re probably sitting down for a good portion of the evening as you wind down your day in front of the computer or tv.
Now please don’t get offended because this is obviously just a generalization. Maybe I didn’t just hit the nail on the head when explaining you, but for the majority of the population I don’t think I’m quite that far off. You see, as a population we sit too much.
Sitting causes the muscles on the anterior part of our bodies to stay in a shortened position for long periods of time, which then causes them to tighten. When muscles on one part of the body are tight, the muscles on the opposite part of the body are constantly in an elongated position, causing them to loosen and weaken.
So why on earth do we use a tool that puts us in this unnatural position that we’ve put ourselves in all day to try and create a training effect? It doesn’t make any sense and it’s a big reason why so many players are ending up with pulls in the groin region.
I admit, in the past, I’ve used bike workouts for hockey players off and on. Luckily, I haven’t come to the point where I’ve pulled anything in the anterior aspect of my body, especially around the groin area. But if you’re a competitive hockey player, or a player that wants to play at their highest level possible, then the spin bike should be left alone. What you should be looking for is a way that you can condition in an upright position as much as possible. Even though a hockey player is on skates he/she still has to stand upright, so your hockey training should at least attempt to look like that.
A more effective way to improve your conditioning would be things like shuttle runs and slide board intervals. One involves linear runs and the other involves lateral movement. Both which are heavily involved in the game of hockey.