Hockey season is in full swing, with the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, taking place in Toronto and Montreal, just around the corner. In anticipation of the return of the World Juniors to Canada, Nike has redesigned the Canadian team’s jerseys, marrying their high-performance AeroSwift Technology with design cues that celebrate the Great White North’s upcoming 150th anniversary.
Wearing the jersey and cheering on the team is one thing, but if you want to really understand the work that goes into prepping for the tournament, Nike Trainer Quentin Vitco has crafted a hockey-inspired training program, with insight from returning National Junior Team player Mitchell Stephens, that focuses on enhancing mobility, endurance, and strength — all important things for a top athlete. Or, in your case, as a way to stay in shape and stave off that winter weight that threatens to pile back on at this time of year.
1. Sled Push
Sprint (3 reps, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest)
Start in a hinged position with your body low to the ground, keep a neutral spine, brace your core and drive your knees forward as you sprint. You can perform this exercise with your arms straight or elbows bent for variation.
“Sled pushes, it’s pure power. You’re pushing through that leg burn, your legs are going to get bigger, they are going to get faster and you’ll be stronger on the ice.” – Mitchell Stephens
2. Medicine Ball Toss
Lateral Rotation Against Wall (3 reps, 30 seconds on each side)
Begin the movement with the ball at your hip furthest from the wall. As you rotate use your legs and braced core to keep control, and finish the toss with full extension of the arms. As the ball is rebounding off the wall quickly switch your stance 180 degrees and catch the ball back to your outside hip. Ensure an athletic stance and supported neutral spine.
“[With the] medicine ball throw, it’s all about building your core. You have to be able to take a shot or block off a defender going to the net, [while] keeping your body stable on the ice.” – Mitchell Stephens
3. Battle Ropes
Alternating Lateral Skate (3 reps, 45 seconds)
Start in an athletic stance with your spine supported in a neutral position with a braced core. Begin by alternating your arms to create a sine wave pattern with the ropes. Continue with the arms while adding the lateral skate movement, hop from one foot to the other bending at the hip and knee to support the impact with the legs.
4. Lateral Lunge
Alternating Overhead Press (3 reps, 45 seconds per side)
From a standing position, perform a close stance squat coming down about half way, and then extend one leg back 45 degrees creating triple extension of your leg at the hip, knee and ankle. Bring your leg back to the half squat position, then stand up while squeezing your glutes and core to support the overhead push. Press one arm up over your head having your bicep cover your ear from a profile view, bring the weight back to the shoulder and continue on the other side.
5. Transverse Box Jump
(3 reps, 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest)
Begin in an athletic stance with your arms overhead, perpendicular to the box. When initiating your jump, swing your arms down to the ground to create momentum, while at the same time load your legs by bending at the hip, knee and ankle. Continue the movement in one fluid motion by driving your arms back up overhead and extending the hip, knee and ankle. Generate the power for your jump by bracing your core and exploding off the floor. Rotate in the air to land facing the box. Stand up tall and step down.
“Box jumps are huge. For a hockey player having that power, that ability to jump and use that explosive energy on your legs up on board, it’s awesome.” – Mitchell Stephens