HockeyTraining.com – Review of Men’s League Annihilation
There isn’t much more inspiring than your 64 year old father telling you he wants to be the best player on the ice at his upcoming men’s league hockey tournament. In his mid-sixties, the man still has the drive of a twenty something kid and his love of the game keeps him in the gym working to be the best he can be.
My dad was looking for a workout program for us to start together as he wanted to be in the best shape possible for his summer hockey tournament, where teams around the country come together to play for the Canadian Men’s League Championships. After much research, he stumbled across the program at HockeyTraining.com called Men’s League Annihilation. They have many free resources for basic training, and after reviewing some of these, we decided it was a fit and began our journey together in the weight room.
The hockey training program is actually designed as a one year program but is broken down into one month phases, with each workout phase consisting of 3 workouts per week. Phase one starts out with some general full body strength, alternating between an A and B workout with a focus on lower body, core, and push workouts one session, and a different set of lower body and pull workouts the next.
Many of the subsequent phases consist of a push, pull and lower body + core day each week, however some weeks shuffle back to the A and B workout split.
The volume required in each training session is quite demanding, as you will average between 7-9 different exercises with 3-4 sets each, and a few exercises actually calling for 5. If you aren’t prepared to spend 1-1.5 hours in the gym each session, you may want to reconsider. However, the workouts are definitely manageable, as the volume ramps up in each phase after an initial 3 set limit on most exercises, giving you time to adapt to the workload.
Ease of Use
The guys at hockeytraining.com do an excellent job in making this hockey program very easy to follow, as they have downloadable PDFs for each workout (or even a small workout tracker book you can order separately) as well as great video demonstrations for each exercise. Additionally, if there are some exercises you are unable to complete for any reason, they have listed suitable alternatives to still help you get an effective workout.
If you browse the internet enough, you will come across many free exercise programs that can help you train for basketball, hockey, baseball – you name it. But some of us just don’t stick with a program unless we have a little bit of skin in the game, and my dad is one of those people. So while some people may look at the $97 USD price tag and turn away, we didn’t.
What you get for roughly a hundred bucks is a well organized, well thought out program from a company that continues to put out great hockey resources. Not only do you get the primary hockey workout plan, but also some specific hockey drills and mobility training resources or free.
My father and I only completed the first 4 phases of this program, because as many of you already know, I like to switch things up and try new things quite often (check out my Backyard Olympics post for some fun ideas for staying motivated at home). So my thoughts below represent only a fraction of the hockey training program, but I feel they will still provide some valuable information to help you decide if this program is worth it to you.
Overall, I would say the program is worth the price because it is well organized, there are great instructional videos for each exercise, and it incorporates all of the necessary training components one looking to improve their hockey skills would need. The program is well balanced and suitable for virtually any adult looking to improve his/her hockey game.
However, I would say that if you are looking to spend a little less time in the gym than the prescribed 1-1.5 hours, you may not want to follow this program in its entirety. If you are concerned primarily with becoming a stronger, faster, and more explosive athlete, you can stick to much of the program but cut out some of the accessory work. For example, on one of the lower body+core days, your workout starts off with some sprints, plyometric training, and trap bar deadlifts. You then move on to hit other core exercises and additional lower body accessory work. You could simply complete the first half of the workout consisting of the explosive exercises and compound movements, where you will get the biggest return on investment of your time.
Especially if you are mid-season, I would consider lowering the overall volume. What my father and I were finding with this program is that after the lower body+core days, we didn’t have the energy in our legs to go out and skate hard the next day or two. I believe that if you are looking to strictly improve your strength while maintaining better energy levels to continue performing at a high level outside of the gym, you should consider sticking to the compound movements as outlined by Pavel Tsatsouline’s 80/20 approach to fitness.
I have actually taken this approach recently as outlined in my post relating to increasing your vertical jump (here) , and the general idea is that 80% of your results will come from 20% of the work, so focus on your big lifts like the squat, deadlift and bench press, skip the accessory movements and ensure you are recovered and ready to go for the next workout. You want to be able to give it all on your workout days, and unfortunately if you are training 1.5 hours in the gym 3+ times a week on top of playing multiple sports throughout the week, this may not be possible as an average adult athlete. Plus, I truly believe plyometrics are going to be one of the best things an older athlete can do to stay mobile and explosive. We actually complete a program consisting almost entirely of plyometrics last year, which you can read here.
The program is definitely worth a shot if you are serious about improving your strength and speed on the ice, and the boys at HockeyTraining.com know their stuff. I would encourage anyone who reads this to follow them on social media as they continue to post great fitness resources to help you along your journey.
PS I am still a terrible hockey player, but that is not their fault. No program in the world is going to change that, so I’ll stick to watching the NHL because my NHL dreams are long over.