Just about every athlete out there or sportsman will declare that their sport makes them the most conditioned compared to everyone else.
The thing about conditioning is that it is more than just being strong, agile, and full of stamina. When we talk about conditioning this should refer to a person being able to meet the demands of the sport they play for longer periods of time.
Since every sport requires a variety of abilities, different ranges of endurance and strength, it is safe to say that a conditioned athlete for a specific sport is no more conditioned than another athlete for a different activity.
Therefore, for a player to be able to fully maximize their performance in their chosen field it is important to study the demands of each sport. From there on, necessary adjustments and programs should be put together accordingly.
Simply put, the act of conditioning is highly dependent on the needs and demands of a specific sport — not just how fit a person is aerobically.
Differentiating Training from Exercise
Being simply active and burning all those calories is the definition of exercise. There is nothing wrong with this. Exercise is a good way to improve on the body’s composition, the end goal is to either lose weight, gain weight, or just keep it maintained.
On the other hand, training utilizes coaching principles that are scientifically designed. Programs are put together by combining information on muscle physiology that would produce exact results over time. Compared to exercise, training has specific target results in mind.
When hockey players train, they work to condition certain muscle groups that will be used over and over again for an extended period of time. Finding a routine is vital, however, not everyone will have gym equipment or a personal trainer available to them.
Thankfully, there are numerous workout moves that can be accomplished anywhere with no heavy or expensive apparatus. Listed are some of the best field hockey workouts for strength and conditioning.
Never underestimate the benefits a correctly executed pushup can do. The standard push up starts in a plank position with hands that are shoulder width apart, sometimes even a tad bit wider. Bend elbows as you lower yourself towards the ground. A forty-five degree angle of the elbows to the body should be practiced.
Additionally, fingers should be splayed to properly support your wrists. Adjust the angle of your arms either going wider or bringing it closer to the body depending on what you find most comfortable. As you execute a push up, engage your core and keep your back flat. Imagine your body as a straight line that runs from the top of your head to the heels of our feet. If you find yourself losing that straight line, tighten your core and this should resolve the issue. Ten to fifteen reps of 3 sets should do the trick.
Hold a medium dumbbell or even a water bottle/jug in front with arms slightly bent at the elbow. Keep your feet at hip width. Bend at the knees and perform a squat. It is advised to maintain a 90 degree angle to avoid injuries.
Another method is to stop your squat when you feel yourself losing the natural arch of your back. Stabilize your body by tightening your core as you keep your legs and glutes contracted. Slowly get back to a standing position without fully locking the knees. Accomplish 3 sets of 15 up to 20 reps.
The goal of this exercise is to execute a stabilized jump and landing each time. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and jump at a 40 degree angle forward. Engage your core to get a nice, solid and secure landing before launching forward to the next jump. 4 reps per set with a 15 second rest between. Best to complete 8 sets.
As always, start by standing with feet that are shoulder or hip width apart. With a straight back, squat down and rest your hands on the floor. Brace yourself as you jump back into a plank or pushup position.
Maintaining a tight and engaged center, drop your torso towards the floor in a pushup movement followed immediately by jumping your feet towards your hands and then standing right back up. In a fluid motion jump as high as you can with both hands extended overhead. Perform 10 sets of 3 reps with a 40 second rest period between sets.
Extremely easy to accomplish, walking lunges involve taking a large step forward with the right foot and lowering your body towards the ground in a lunge. Always maintain a ninety degree angle when performing a lunge. With the left foot or the back foot, push off so that you will land with the left foot in front this time.
Now push off with the right foot, same angle as you lower to lunge, lift the left once again and go into another lunge. Continue the walking movements that are combined with lunges. 8 reps for each leg, 3 sets resting in between should do the trick.
Back Pedal Sprints
This move is a standard issue evenly back in your high school gym class. The idea is to simply begin at the 5 yard mark then back pedal to the starting point. Explode forward to the 10 yard mark, back pedal to the starting point and sprint forwards to the 15 yard mark and once again back pedaling to the start.
Allow 25 second rests before completing 10 sets. This not only helps build endurance but it is a great way to sneak in some cardio.
Split Squat Jumps
Don’t be fooled by the name, split squat jumps are fairly easy to perform. To start off, stand in a semi lunge position. Jump up as high as you possibly can and switch to the other foot.
This means that if you begin with the right leg in front of you when you jump, you must have the left one in front when you land. Maintain a steady rhythm along with controlled breathing. 1 rep is two jumps per leg. Do 8 sets, 4 reps with 25 second rests.
Speed Skater Jumps
Begin by standing with feet and legs that are hip width apart. Proceed by bending one leg behind the other at a slight angle. Stabilize and maintain your balance and the weight on the supporting leg. Exhale and at the same time swing both arms out while leaping over to the opposite side. As you shift your weight land carefully onto the other leg, while the opposite leg should land behind you.
Do not forget to land on the balls of your feet with knees and hips bent slightly to avoid hurting yourself. Repeat the motion by continuing to alternate arms and legs as you shift from one side to the other in a skating movement. Do 10 sets of 3 reps with half a minute break after each set.
Elevated Reverse Lunge
Find a sturdy item like a yoga block or even a piece of brick that you can safely rest one foot on. The height of the resting foot can be at 4 – 6 inches. Now with hands on your hips, step back with the leg that isn’t resting on the block. Squeeze your glutes as you go and lower your knee until it is bent to at least a 90 degree angle. Pause slightly before pushing back up and aligning your foot with the resting one. Alternate the resting leg until you have completed the recommended 10 reps per leg. Do 3 sets for a good workout.
For additional intensity and variation, this routine can be done while carrying weights on each hand. We suggest going for the lightest one before gradually going up to heavier plates or barbells.
First, lay face up with both arms and legs extended and resting comfortably on the floor Keep your feet together and your palms facing each other. As you sit up, lift both legs at the same time while keeping your core as tight as you can. Now with your extended arms reach for your toes.
Lower yourself back slowly to the starting position. As a simple rule, each “sit up” should resemble the letter V. Beginners can bend their knees slightly until the core is stronger to perform full v-sits. Work on 2 sets each with 10 or more reps.
As a final note, it should be reiterated that being conditioned does not equate to being able to run marathons or join Ironman contents. When it comes to hockey, the most important thing is to be able to properly perform specific hockey movements repetitively. Hopefully with little to no injuries while playing the sport.
Poor conditioning can be seen in the lackluster agility, waning speed or the reserve fuel you were unable to optimize during the game’s final minutes.