How to Train Like a Blackhawk

The life of a Chicago Blackhawks player involves a rigid training regimen. The team practices in a new practice facility, which opened last year and features spacious training rooms and a large gym. Even if you don’t have a state-of-the-art training facility within your grasp, it’s possible to follow the training regimen of a Chicago Blackhawk.

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Drylands Exercises

After the season concludes, hockey players typically take several weeks off to rest. When they start up again, they often do drylands exercises — which take place off the ice — for four to six weeks. Drylands have a focus on strength building and maintenance, usually involving work in the weight room.

Drylands also involve short distance sprinting and long-distance jogging, in addition to sit-ups, trunk rolls and crunches. These exercises are all ones you can do at home or in your local gym, providing a great starting point for anyone aspiring to an NHL workout. Drylands help to develop core muscles, which can prevent injuries during contact sports.

Aquatic Workouts

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A big aspect of training among Blackhawks involves aquatic training. Specifically, the players use ankle weights, exercise balls and resistance gloves while running in the water, helping to increase agility, endurance and strength.

In a pool, run in the shallow end with exercise balls or ankle weights. Remain in the shallow end at all times, as the exercise can be very demanding, leading to exhaustion. Some athletes do weighted exercises in deep water, though they have professional supervision from personal trainers. For starting out, it's best to stick to the shallow end, which will still provide an excellent cardiovascular workout.

In addition to watchful supervision, personal trainers provide an array of benefits. Trainers can create a training schedule unique to your body's needs while monitoring progress, so you’ll be able to ramp up your workout at the proper pace.

Flexibility

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Professional hockey players need to have ample flexibility. Without proper flexibility, they’re at greater risk for injury when they take a hit or fall, which is imminent in a contact sport like hockey. Blackhawks players have a before and after exercise stretching regimen, targeting all muscle groups. Their workouts of choice vary.

Some players opt for yoga to boost their flexibility. Yoga workouts can make the entire body more flexible while also teaching efficient breathing patterns that can provide more endurance and a sense of well-being. Yoga can also instill a more peaceful state of mind and reduce stress, which can be beneficial for hockey players in such a contact sport.

Blackhawks players engage in exercises that gradually ramp up, beginning with drylands exercises and evolving into intense regimens. Strength training in weight rooms, aquatic training in pools and yoga sessions combine to increase strength and flexibility while promoting a clearer state of mind. The Blackhawks do most of this work in their new and impressive training facility, though anyone can do many of their workouts.

Just be sure to ramp up the workouts gradually, taking your time with drylands as you prepare for more intense workouts. Blackhawks players are professional athletes, which is worth bearing in mind as you progress and advance in your training.

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