Oct 30, 2017
Skating Strong, Part 2
Brijesh Patel

To read Part I of this article, click here.

The first week of our preseason phase for training ice hockey players here at Here at Quinnipiac University consists of testing to see how the athletes have improved over the offseason. The next four weeks are geared toward power endurance and specific conditioning. Our approach to on-ice conditioning is very general during the first two weeks of the preseason (involving straight-ahead skating and programmed change of directions) and progresses to more specific work the last two weeks (including more change-of-direction drills).

We train five days a week during the preseason, spending three days in the weightroom and two days on conditioning. Each day has a different emphasis and focus:

  • Monday: Power
  • Tuesday: On-ice conditioning
  • Wednesday: Strength
  • Thursday: Aerobic conditioning
  • Friday: Power endurance

Each strength-training day begins with a warm-up, core work, and plyometric exercises. Then, we move to a full-body routine that incorporates the focus of the day. We distribute stress throughout the week so we can maximize what we do during workouts. For example, our athletes should be the freshest on Mondays, so that’s when we train power. Our power lifts include loaded jumps, presses, and lunges.

Tuesdays are used to build specific conditioning on the ice, so speed, agility, and conditioning drills are incorporated. These are planned with the coaching staff beforehand and gradually progressed over the four-week preseason period. I am fortunate to have a great relationship with our coaching staff, and we communicate regularly to ensure we administer the right amounts of training load and volume on and off the ice.

By the middle of the week, athletes are usually experiencing some residual fatigue from the Monday and Tuesday sessions. Since strength can be trained in a slightly fatigued state — as long as we don’t approach maximal loads — it is our focus on Wednesdays. Our loads generally fall between 75 and 85 percent of one-rep maximum, and typical exercises include squats, pulls, and rows.

The first two preseason Thursdays are held off-ice and focus on aerobic conditioning that emphasizes recovery. We perform soft-tissue work, dynamic flexibility, and low-level conditioning to stimulate athletes’ aerobic systems. The last two Thursdays involve on-ice conditioning. This helps the athletes get accustomed to skating at higher volumes and intensities as we approach the start of practice.

Athletes are often feeling a good amount of fatigue by Friday, so we train what we can, which is usually endurance. To focus on this trait, we perform a variety of circuits that emphasize power, muscular endurance, and team building. The circuits include kettlebells, barbells, medicine balls, sleds, and landmines, and we work on team building by partnering athletes at each station.

Here is a sample week from the Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey team’s preseason plan.


A1. Alternating dumbbell split-squat jumps 3×4

A2. Alternating bodyweight step-up jumps 3×4

A3. Chain bench presses 3×5, 5, until technical failure

A4. Seated wall reaches 3×3 breaths

B1. Kettlebell lateral lunges 2×5 each leg

B2. One-arm Keiser rotational presses 2×6 each arm

B3. Landmine rotations 2×16

B4. Inverted rows 2xmax


A1. Front squats 3×5, 3, 3

A2. Pull-ups 3×5

A3. Dumbbell incline presses 3×6

A4. Active straight-leg raises 3×2 breaths each leg

B1. Rack pulls 2×4

B2. One-arm Keiser rotational rows 2×6 each arm

B3. Bent-over Y/T holds 2×15 seconds each

B4. Plank knee tuck circuits 2×8 each leg


Endurance circuits

Brijesh Patel, MA, CSCS, is Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Quinnipiac University, where he works with men's and women's ice hockey and men's and women's basketball.

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