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On-Ice Conditioning Drills

This is an excerpt from The Hockey Drill Book by Dave Chambers.

Read more about on-ice conditioning in
The Hockey Drill Book.

On-Ice Conditioning

The on-ice conditioning drills included in this chapter are specific to the training of the three energy systems used to move the body in ice hockey: anaerobic alactic, anaerobic lactic, and aerobic. The chapter is structured with the anaerobic alactic drills at the beginning, anaerobic lactic drills coming next, and aerobic drills coming last. Also, the system each drill trains is indicated in its title. The following lists identify the characteristics of the three energy systems as well as recommendations for training each system. For best results, the drills included in this chapter should be run with these considerations in mind.

Anaerobic Alactic

  • This system supplies energy for all-out efforts lasting up to 10 seconds and contributes for up to 30 seconds.
  • The supply of energy provided by this system is limited.
  • Training time should be 5 to 10 seconds per repetition for this energy system.
  • Training intensity should be near maximal (95 percent).
  • Rest time should be 30 seconds to 2 minutes between repetitions.
  • Work-to-rest intervals should be 1:6 to 1:10.

Anaerobic Lactic

  • This system supplies energy for efforts lasting longer than 10 seconds and contributes for up to 3 minutes.
  • This is the predominant system for intense exercise of 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Supplies of energy provided by this system are limited.
  • This system produces lactic acid, which contributes to fatigue.
  • Training intensity should be near maximal (95 percent) for this energy system.
  • Recovery time should be 1.5 to 3 minutes.
  • Work-to-rest intervals should be 1:3 to 1:6.


  • This system is important for recovery in intermittent anaerobic sports such as ice hockey.
  • This system can be trained using two methods: continuous long-distance or intermittent interval training.
  • Long-distance work should range from 20 to 60 minutes.
  • Interval exercise should range from 1 1/2 to 3 minutes.
  • Work-to-rest intervals should be 1:1 to 1:2.
  • Intensity should be submaximal, approximately 165 beats per minute (60 to 75 percent of maximum), as maximal heart rate is approximately 220 minus the age of the player.

All three energy systems need to be trained for ice hockey. However, during the season, the emphasis for on-ice conditioning should be on training the anaerobic alactic and lactic systems because ice hockey is a sport that requires short bursts of energy (with 5 to 40 seconds of work being the most common). Keep in mind that the aerobic system is also developed and maintained with short-interval work as well as continuous work. Therefore, an aerobic training effect will occur using anaerobic training intervals. Also note that lactic interval training drills also train the aerobic system and are more practical for on-ice conditioning as they train both systems and are more game specific.

424 Alactic Sprint and Shoot 1

  1. Players 1, 2, and 3 each have a puck.
  2. The three players sprint around the cone in succession and shoot at the far end.
  3. Players 4, 5, and 6 go next from the opposite side.
  4. The drill is continuous with three players going each time.

425 Alactic Sprint and Shoot 2

  1. Player 1 and player 2 each have a puck.
  2. Player 1 and player 2 skate over the blue line and shoot in succession, then loop back and skate to the opposite end to take a pass from the coach.
  3. Player 1 and player 2 shoot at the opposite end.
  4. Players go two at a time, and when the whole team is finished, they go in the opposite direction.

426 Alactic Stop/Sprint/Shoot

  1. Player 1 skates out of the center circle, stops at the near blue line, skates to the far end, takes a pass from player 2, goes over the blue line, and shoots.
  2. Player 2 goes next and takes a pass from the next player.
  3. The drill goes in both directions from the center circle, with players 4 and 5 performing the same pattern in the opposite direction.

427 Alactic Shoot with Chaser

  1. Player 1 is just outside the center circle in the middle of the ice with a puck.
  2. Player 2 is at the center line.
  3. Player 3 has a puck and is in the same position as player 1 but on the opposite side of the circle.
  4. Player 4 is at the center line.
  5. On the whistle, player 1 skates in for a shot on the net with player 2 chasing. Player 3 skates in for a shot on the net at the opposite end with player 4 chasing.
  6. All players participate, alternating between puck carrier and chaser.

Read more about The Hockey Drill Book by Dave Chambers.

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