A lot of people gave up on exercise months ago, but the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t stopped training for a second. Even as gyms and ice skating rinks closed their doors, these players continued to increase their gains at home and grow stronger as a team. Of course, since many of them didn’t have access to a rink or high-end equipment, players had to find new ways to stay fit.
Luckily, their home workouts are simple enough that anyone can do them — even you! So get up off the couch and get those gains!
Before the Blackhawks start blasting out burpees or pumping iron, they warm up with some light stretching. Doing so increases muscle and blood temperatures, allowing for maximum range of motion and less strain on the heart.
Strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman likes to lead the players through a series of dynamic stretches like calf raises, pendulum swings, arm and hip circles and frog rocks. However, you might choose different stretches depending on what part of the body you want to work that day.
Since many of the players don’t have access to weights and machines at home, Goodman also likes to incorporate bodyweight exercises into their training. Supermans, pushup crawls and planks are simple but effective movements that can build muscle without a single dumbbell.
He also includes more aerobic exercises to enhance their endurance and strength. His Workout Wednesday videos often involve moves like lateral lunges, cross behind jumps, impulse crossovers and high knees. Of course, you can always add jumping jacks, burpees and other dynamic movements to get your heart thumping and blood pumping.
In-Line Speed Skating
Ice skating requires loose hip flexors and strong quadriceps, hip abductors, hamstrings and calves. Of course, lacing up a pair of skates and getting out onto the ice is the best way to strengthen these muscles. However, since most players haven’t had access to a rink, many have had to find other ways to work their lower body.
One of the best ways to engage the muscles they need on the ice is by strapping on a pair of in-line skates and hitting the pavement. While there’s a significant difference in starting and stopping techniques, forward movements are practically the same.
Plus, in-line skating works all the same muscles as ice skating and strengthens the knee by increasing the flow of synovial fluid to the knee joint.
While gyms have reopened in recent weeks, some are content to continue working out with Zoom fitness classes. While the players quarantined for three months, Goodman held hour-long Zoom workout sessions three days a week. He also recorded meetings, made videos and planned workouts to send to players who couldn’t attend live streaming sessions.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym or want to train like a Blackhawk in quarantine, you might want to try a few virtual workouts, too. Many trainers are still offering classes in yoga, strength and conditioning, resistance training and more so you can find a style that suits you and your fitness goals.
Find a buddy with whom you can attend classes so you can hold each other accountable and fully commit yourselves to a program.
Cool Down Stretches
Cooling down after an intense workout is just as important as warming up. At the end of his virtual classes, Goodman likes to walk players through a series of static stretches like downward dog, upward facing dog and forward fold. These longer holds allow the limbs to cool down while the joints are still warm and reduce lactic acid buildup, which can cause muscle cramps and stiffness.
Set aside 5 to 10 minutes at the end of your workout to stretch as well. Depending on what part of the body you worked the most, you may include shoulder stretches or side body stretches, or take a more relaxed approach with seated forward folds and spinal twists. Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and don’t forget to breathe deep as you twist and bend.
Use What You Have
As the second wave of the pandemic sweeps across the U.S., many gyms and fitness centers will likely shut their doors again. When shutdowns occur, remember that you can always take your workouts online and cultivate strength even in the absence of weights and other equipment.
Use your stairs, water jugs, roller skates and other items you already have to pump up those muscles and stay fit through quarantine, just like the Blackhawks!
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