From the very beginning of my training hockey players at every level from High School to Pro, the perception has been the same: if they are training MMA at a boxing gym, it MUST be linked to fighting on the ice. It's actually quite the opposite. When I personally started training for fighting, whether it was for a stand up fight or for ground fighting, I couldn’t help but recognize the similarities to the game of hockey. I had always believed in and followed the traditional workouts related to hockey: lots of squats, bench, shoulder press etc. "One directional training" as I now call it.
As I started to train in brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing and with MMA fighters, I found myself achieving levels of cardio I never knew I had. The training consists of constant up and down, push and pull, body going in every direction, arms having to work while legs did something different and my core holding it all together. I slowly learned body awareness and that the 315 bench press meant absolutely nothing if I couldn’t stay on my feet when someone pressed into me. We have an expression in the gym, and we label some guys with it, it's called “rebar strength”. It means that they may not look the biggest or the strongest, but are exceptionally strong for their size. THAT is what our philosophy has become when it comes to hockey strength training at MTT: we are building rebar strength. I can’t tell you the number of guys that I have worked with that have huge chest, massive biceps, look like an Adonis, and get thrown around by guys half their size in the gym.
When it comes to hockey and lacrosse athlete training, I am more concerned about a player going into the corner, and coming out with the puck still standing than I am about squat numbers and lbs on the bench press.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing athletes including Pavel Datsyuk, my dear friend Derek Boogaard, many other NHL players, guys from the MN Wild and the MN Swarm and this year was proud to serve as a player development coach for the LA Kings/Manchester Monarchs. I also train an amazing group of boys on the Jung Adler Hockey Team in Mannehim Germany, 2012 National Champions.
If you're looking for tough no-BS strength and conditioning training, check out my hockey & lacrosse strength tr