Hockey Treadmill Workout

In this article, I’m going to explain how the treadmill can be used to your advantage on those days where you can’t make it outside—and I will also give you an exact workout that will improve your hockey performance. 

The treadmill should ideally be used with the aerobic energy system in mind.

Since the anaerobic system is best trained with all-out sprints and jump variations, it isn’t exactly conducive to an effective workout on the treadmill, as speed and explosiveness both become limiting factors. 

But, that’s not a barrier to training the aerobic system—so that is exactly what we are going to do. 

Hockey athletes need a balanced energy system profile, and I wrote about hockey conditioning demands extensively in this article if you want a complete breakdown on it.

Benefits of Aerobic Training for Hockey

Even though most hockey coaches and players know that training the aerobic system is important for hockey, very few of them understand what’s happening underneath the surface to easily explain why it’s beneficial for hockey. 

I want you to try and remember this as “3 sets of 3,” because they are very important to know so you can comprehend the effectiveness behind this workout.

Improved Oxygen Supply

  • Enhanced cardiac output
  • More dense vascular networks
  • Greater oxygen delivery to working muscle tissue

Improved Oxygen Utilization

  • Increased size and density of Type 1 muscle fibers 
  • Improved oxidative capacity of Type 2 muscle fibers 
  • Increased number of enzymes required for oxygen absorption 

Improved Nutrient Availability

  • Enhanced efficiency of aerobic metabolic pathways 
  • Increased storage capacity for aerobic fuel
  • Hormonal regulation 

This is a very short list of the physiological benefits hockey players can gain from appropriately training their aerobic system. In short: if you want to enhance your conditioning out on the ice, improving your aerobic capacity is a must. 

With my hockey athletes, I have found they especially notice the benefits within the recovery time between shifts.  

Since we are training the aerobic system, a hockey treadmill workout is going to have a major positive impact on the heart itself (yes, it is a muscle that gets trained too) as well as your vascular networks. 

The treadmill workout I recommend below explains how to set up aerobic intervals, which quite literally strengthen the contractile tissue in your heart that determines how much blood the heart is able to pump per beat. 

This aerobic workout also increases contraction strength (the beats of the heart) without increasing the size of the chamber in the heart (which can also be trained, just not with this method). 

Additionally, this type of workout can improve the heart’s conditioning during high heart rates so you can maintain your physical exertion for a longer period of time without fatiguing. 

Since we are impacting contractile force and heart rate conditioning, this type of workout/benefit is related to improving performance as intensity increases out on the ice. 

During periods of lower effort (like walking on the ground or gliding on the ice), the strength of the heart really doesn’t matter much because oxygen supply is not a limiting factor. But, as you increase exertion, the demand for oxygen grows—as does your reliance on the heart’s endurance/contractile force ability. 

For hockey, it’s important to have a strong heart that is capable of sustaining contractions as long as possible at high heart rates—this is what keeps you fresh going into the 3rd period. 

Luckily for us, using this method is very straightforward. 

Hockey Treadmill Workout

  1. Warm up with a speed walk for five minutes 
  2. Run for 60 seconds at a self-perceived 90% of your maximal output
  3. Rest for two minutes or wait until your heart rate comes back down to 120 (whether it has been two minutes or not)
  4. Run for 120 seconds at a self-perceived 80% of your maximal output
  5. Rest for two minutes or wait until your heart rate comes back down to 120 (whether it has been two minutes or not)
  6. Repeat steps 2–5 until you complete four rounds of each output (four rounds of 60 seconds running and four rounds of 120 seconds running) 
  7. Cool down with a speed walk for five minutes 

Final Thoughts

Not all hockey players have the luxury of being able to go outside on a regular basis to do their cardio. You might live in a cold winter area or have a demanding job—and sometimes, you just want to stay inside! 

This hockey treadmill workout is for all the hockey athletes who want to do something beneficial for their performance but don’t have a park nearby to do tempo runs. 

I hope you found this article helpful, and if you want access to all of the workouts, programs, and skills drills you could ever want to take your game to the next level, then check out the Hockey Skills Accelerator.

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Written by
Dan Garner
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