Rigid offseason regimen for Chilliwack Chiefs

Junior A hockey players have little time to rest over the summer as they prepare for next season.

The Chilliwack Chiefs are done for the season, but the off-season is no time to rest for the junior A players. In his first bi-weekly column, Chiefs assistant coach and Xceed Training owner/operator Paul Nicolls talks about what the players should be doing this summer.


The program the players get is broken up into three four-week phases that must be done in sequence for maximum effectiveness. Each four week phase has three training weeks followed by one taper (recovery) week.

Each week consists of five training days. Monday and Friday focus on lower body lifts. Tuesday and Thursday focus on upper body lifts and Wednesday is for aerobic training (usually a four to five kilometre run).

The taper week is important to allow them to recover from the grind and be ready for the next phase.

Here are 10 key points to follow for any effective training program.


Movement prep is designed to increase range of motion and activate the nervous system. The exercises are designed to increase flexibility while moving, just as you would in a game like situation.


Dynamic warm-up is a continuation of movement prep in the sense that we are trying to activate the nervous system to allow the muscles to fire as fast as possible and in the proper sequence. Where movement prep is slow and controlled, dynamic movements are performed much faster.


Dynamic range of motion (ROM) is designed to actively increase the range of motion around the hip and shoulder joints.


Super-sets simply means performing two exercises together without a rest in between. For example, I might perform a bench press and then go straight to the seated row with only the amount of rest that it takes me to switch exercises. I would then rest for 60 to 90 seconds and go on to my next set.


Agility drills increase the ability to change direction under control with explosiveness and quickness.


Sprint training is very important, as your fastest skaters are almost always your fastest sprinters.


Plyometrics develop explosive power in the legs. Our team’s program consists of vertical, lateral and horizontal plyometrics. They will also perform static plyometrics, which is a contradiction in terms but serve a great purpose.  The goal with static plyometrics is to increase your ability to stop under control. If you cannot stop under control you will not be able to effectively change directions.


Aerobic training aids in recovery for the shorter and more intense speed training to come later. It aids in recovery between shifts and games and helps players get through the long season.


Anaerobic training allows the body to buffer lactate, therefore allowing the athlete to work at a higher intensity for longer periods of time. This also allows for recover-and-repeat high-intensity bursts.


Flexibility should always to be performed at the end of the training sessions. Choose appropriate stretches for the day and hold each stretch for one minute. If you choose to stretch prior to training it should be done after your general warm-up and before your dynamic warm-up.