10 Simple At-Home Hockey Exercises to Enhance Your Game

One of the biggest challenges for any hockey player is finding a way to improve despite limited ice time. Most players don’t have access to ice whenever they want, so they need to find other ways to improve their games. Luckily, there are some simple at-home hockey exercises you can do to improve your physical condition and make the most of your time away from the rink.

At Home Hockey Workouts
Image by Fortune Vieyra is licensed with Unsplash License

1. Biking

A stationary bike is a great place to start for your at-home workouts. You can find relatively cheap bikes online and they don’t take up a lot of space. Even better, you can use a stationary bike during the colder months when exercising outside isn’t comfortable. A few of the other benefits of biking include:

  1. Cardiovascular Health: Riding an exercise bike elevates your heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness. Regular use can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve overall heart health.
  2. Low-Impact: Exercise bikes are gentle on the joints, making them suitable for people with joint issues or those recovering from injuries. They provide an excellent alternative to high-impact exercises like running.
  3. Leg Strength: Cycling strengthens the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This can enhance overall lower body strength and tone.
  4. Improved Endurance: Regular use of an exercise bike can increase your endurance, allowing you to perform other activities with less fatigue.
  5. Customizable Workouts: Most exercise bikes come with adjustable resistance levels and built-in workout programs, allowing you to tailor your workouts to your fitness level and goals.
  6. Monitoring Progress: Many exercise bikes are equipped with digital displays that track metrics like distance, speed, time, and calories burned, helping you monitor your progress over time.

2. Burpees

The burpee is a high-intensity, full-body exercise that combines elements of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. To perform a standard burpee:

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground.
  3. Kick your feet back into a plank position.
  4. Quickly return your feet to the squat position.
  5. Explode up from the squat into a jump, reaching your arms overhead.

Burpees are highly effective for several reasons. They engage multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, arms, core, and legs, making them a fantastic full-body workout. They also elevate your heart rate rapidly, making them a great cardiovascular exercise.

There are two primary ways you can incorporate burpees into your workout. First, you can set a goal number, then keep going until you hit that number. The other way is to set a time limit, like 30 seconds or 1 minute, then do as many burpees as you can during that time. With both methods, you can easily increase your repetitions over time to continue to make the workout challenging.

3. Crunches

Crunches are a popular abdominal exercise that primarily targets the rectus abdominis, the front part of the abdominal muscles. Here’s how to perform a standard crunch:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You can also place your feet on a stable surface or use a mat for comfort.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest, or place your hands gently behind your head without pulling on your neck.
  3. Engage your core muscles by drawing your navel toward your spine to lift your upper body off the ground. Your head, neck, and shoulder blades should come off the floor.
  4. Exhale as you lift, and inhale as you lower your upper body back down, keeping your lower back on the ground.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Crunches are effective for strengthening the abdominal muscles and you can do them practically anywhere, making them great at-home hockey exercises.

4. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a compound strength exercise renowned for their effectiveness in targeting various muscle groups, primarily the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and core. To add deadlifts to your home hockey workout, you’ll need a barbell and some weights. If you don’t have these, you can use dumbells instead. Here’s how to perform a standard deadlift:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the barbell over the center of your feet.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees to lower your body down while keeping your back straight. Grip the barbell with both hands just outside of your knees, using either a double overhand grip or a mixed grip (one palm facing you, the other facing away).
  3. Brace your core, engage your lats, and push through your heels to lift the barbell. As you lift, extend your hips and knees simultaneously while keeping the barbell close to your body.
  4. Stand fully upright, with your shoulders back and chest up.
  5. Reverse the motion by bending at your hips and knees to lower the barbell back to the ground.

Deadlifts are renowned for their ability to build overall strength and power. They engage multiple muscle groups, making them a fantastic full-body exercise.

However, it’s essential to use proper form when performing deadlifts to avoid injury. Starting with a lighter weight to master the technique is recommended, and gradually increasing the load as your strength improves. Consult with a fitness professional if you’re new to deadlifts to ensure you’re performing them safely and effectively.

5. Goblet Squats

The goblet squat is a highly effective lower body exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles. To perform a goblet squat:

  1. Start by holding a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a weight plate close to your chest with both hands. Your palms should be facing upward, and your elbows should be pointed downward.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, with your toes pointing slightly outward.
  3. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, lower your body into a squat position by bending your hips and knees. Ensure that your knees do not go past your toes.
  4. Go as low as your mobility allows or until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  5. Push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position.

The goblet squat offers several benefits. It improves lower body strength, enhances overall balance and stability, and engages the core muscles. This exercise is also more forgiving on the lower back compared to barbell squats, making it a popular choice for people of various fitness levels.

6. Planks

The plank exercise is a core-strengthening movement that also engages various muscle groups to improve overall stability and endurance. To perform a plank:

  1. Start by positioning yourself face down on the floor, supporting your weight on your forearms and toes. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders.
  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core muscles to maintain this alignment.
  3. Hold this position for a specific duration, typically ranging from 20 seconds to several minutes, depending on your fitness level.

Planks are a highly effective exercise for several reasons. They primarily target the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, which helps improve posture and reduce the risk of lower back pain.

Furthermore, planks engage the shoulders, chest, and lower body muscles, promoting overall strength and stability. This exercise can be modified to increase or decrease intensity, making it suitable for beginners and advanced individuals alike.

7. Pullups

Pull-ups are an excellent upper body exercise that offers several notable benefits:

  1. Increased Upper Body Strength: Pull-ups primarily target the muscles of the upper body, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), biceps, and upper back. Regularly performing pull-ups can lead to significant gains in upper body strength.
  2. Improved Functional Fitness: Pull-ups are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This makes them a valuable exercise for improving functional fitness, as they mimic real-life movements like lifting, carrying, and pulling. Enhanced functional fitness can make everyday tasks easier and reduce the risk of injury.

Pull-ups are also one of the best at-home hockey workouts because you don’t need expensive equipment. You can find many kinds of affordable pull-up bars online that easily connect to a doorframe in your home.

When incorporating pull-ups into your workout, try varying the types of pull-ups that you do. For example, you can do one set of standard pull-ups, then chin-ups, then use a wide-grip stance for the last batch. This will give you a more complete workout by using different muscles.

Finally, if you can’t do that many pull-ups yet, you can work up to them. Instead of starting at the bottom of the pull-up position, grip the bar then jump (or find something to stand on) until your chin is above the bar. Hold that for a second, then lower yourself down as slowly as you can with your feet off the ground. Once your arms are extended, place your feet back on the ground and hop back up to the top to repeat the process. These are reverse pull-ups and work practically the same muscles, allowing you to build up your strength until you can do a regular set.

8. Pushups

One of the easiest home hockey exercises is the pushup. Pushups are excellent for developing chest, shoulder, and triceps strength and can be modified for different fitness levels. Here’s how to do a proper pushup:

  1. Starting Position: Begin in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core and glutes.
  2. Hand Placement: Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, fingers pointing forward. Ensure your weight is evenly distributed between both hands.
  3. Descent: Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Your chest should hover just above the ground. Maintain a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Alignment: Ensure your head is in a neutral position, and your neck and spine are in a straight line. Avoid looking up or letting your head drop.
  5. Pushing Up: Push through your palms and extend your arms to return to the starting position, keeping your body in a straight line.
  6. Breathing: Inhale as you lower your body and exhale as you push up.
  7. Repetition: Perform the desired number of repetitions, maintaining good form throughout.

Common mistakes to avoid include sagging your hips, raising your buttocks, or letting your lower back arch. Keeping proper form is more important than the number of repetitions. Gradually increase the number of pushups as your strength improves.

9. Rowing

Incorporating a rowing machine into your fitness routine can help you achieve a well-rounded workout, whether your focus is on cardiovascular health, muscle building, or weight management. Some of the benefits of using a rowing machine include:

  1. Cardiovascular Fitness: Rowing is an excellent aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate, enhancing cardiovascular fitness.
  2. Total Body Workout: Rowing engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, back, arms, and core. It’s a fantastic full-body exercise that helps build and tone muscles while burning calories.
  3. Low-Impact: Rowing is gentle on the joints, making it suitable for people with joint issues or those recovering from injuries. It’s a low-impact alternative to high-impact activities like running.
  4. Calorie Burn: Rowing can help with weight management as it burns a significant number of calories. A vigorous rowing session can burn over 600 calories per hour, depending on your weight and intensity.
  5. Time Efficiency: Rowing provides an efficient workout, engaging multiple muscle groups in one exercise, saving you time in the gym.
  6. Adjustable Intensity: Rowing machines typically have adjustable resistance settings, allowing you to tailor your workouts to your fitness level and goals.

10. Treadmill

Finally, using a treadmill can be an effective way to improve hockey performance. Here’s how:

  1. Cardiovascular Conditioning: Hockey is an intense sport that requires cardiovascular endurance. Treadmill workouts can help you improve your stamina and cardiovascular fitness. Interval training on a treadmill, alternating between high-intensity sprints and recovery periods, mimics the stop-and-go nature of hockey, enhancing your ability to perform during shifts.
  2. Leg Strength and Power: Hockey players need strong and explosive leg muscles for skating speed and power. Treadmill incline settings can simulate uphill skating, helping to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Incorporating hill sprints can specifically target these muscles, improving your skating performance.
  3. Anaerobic Capacity: Hockey involves bursts of high-intensity effort. Treadmill workouts can enhance your anaerobic capacity, enabling you to sprint, change direction, and engage in quick, powerful movements on the ice. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill is an effective method for building anaerobic fitness.
  4. Endurance: Hockey games can be physically demanding and long. Treadmill workouts can help improve overall endurance, allowing you to maintain your performance level throughout the game.
  5. Mental Toughness: Pushing yourself on a treadmill can enhance mental toughness, a valuable trait in hockey. Learning to endure discomfort and fatigue during treadmill training can help you stay focused and determined on the ice.

Sample At-Home Hockey Workouts

You can easily get a good workout simply by choosing one of the home hockey exercises above and doing a few sets. However, you’ll likely get better results if you incorporate a few of the exercises into one workout. You’ll also want to switch up which muscles you workout each day to allow your body time to rest.

If you’re in the middle of hockey season, you’ll also want to factor in your existing schedule. For example, you might not want to do a leg-heavy workout the day before a game. However, if you have an open schedule, you could use the following sample at-home hockey workout to get you ready for the season:

  • Day 1: Legs and Core
    • Goblet Squats
    • Deadlifts
    • Burpees
    • Planks
    • Crunches
  • Day 2: Cardio
    • Biking
    • Rowing
    • Treadmill / Running
  • Day 3: Upper Body and Core
    • Pushups
    • Pullups
    • Burpees
    • Planks
    • Crunches
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Legs and Core
    • Same as Day 1
  • Day 6: Cardio
    • Same as Day 2
  • Day 7: Rest

If you instead want an all-around workout in one day, try a set like this:

  • Pushups
  • Goblet Squats
  • Pull-ups
  • Burpees

Repeat that set a few times, then finish up with some cardio.

Creating Your Own At-Home Hockey Exercises Routine

As you can see, it’s easy to create a quick workout routine making use of the exercises listed above. You can mix and match based on your needs and adjust the schedule based on your hockey practices and games.

Another great thing about these exercises is that it’s easy to adjust the difficulty. You don’t need any additional equipment to do more pushups or to run faster. This way, you can continue to make your workouts challenging throughout the year and keep progressing.