Gym training time

Hey keepers,

I am often asked about conditioning training for keepers so here is my 5 cents worth.

I am a goalie not a personal trainer so I recommend you work with a professional to get your technique and program sorted. There is a high risk of injury with some of this training so please seek proper advice; this might help getting your trainer heading in the right direction.

Gone are the days of the keeper being the chubby kid that plays in goal to avoid all the running the field players do, the modern keeper needs to be fast, agile and powerful.

At the same time you don’t make your race horse plough the fields… As a keeper when we move we have to move FAST but I seriously doubt we will ever be running 10km during a game like the top field players.

So how do we become fast, agile and powerful?

The majority of power required for goal keeping will come from the lower body (legs and core), to get this power you will need a reasonable strength base. If you jump straight in to power training without a strength base you will be in danger of breaking down with injuries.

Exercises I have used to build a good strength base are:

Squats – Back or front squats
Lunges – I find step lunges to be the best and mimic keeper movements well

(These two are your bread and butter for a keeper, increase your strength in these areas and you will likely improve as a keeper – simple as that!)

Don’t forget to train your Hamstrings, Glutes, Groin and calves to maintain a balance and avoid injury (60% of gym work is to improve your keeping 40% is injury prevention)

Core strength is the link to transfer all your lower body power to full body power, there is nothing worse than your lower body moving to make a save and your upper body moving in the opposite direction preventing you from making the save.

Once you have a good strength base you can move on to the explosive power training.

Over the years I have tried many things with my conditioning training, one of these was basing most of my gym training on loading up specific keeping/save actions. Looking back I don’t think this type of training helped me too much. I still do the odd exercise that mimics keeper specific movements but it is not the sole focus of my training.

If you are more powerful as an athlete you will be a more powerful keeper.

I have found that Olympic style lifts are a good way of becoming more powerful – Clean and Jerk and the Snatch are the key lifts but these can be broken down to smaller lifts like a high-pull, hanging clean or hanging snatch. I will not get in to the technique of these lifts as they are rather technical and I recommend you seek expert advice to get your technique sorted.

Jump squats are also good but be careful of your knees.

My view is that upper body strength/power is not as important as the lower body for a keeper as most of our saves start with our feet on the ground.

It is good to have reasonable strength through your upper body—the key muscles to target for me are the Chest, Back and Shoulders. Strengthening these areas will help speed up your hand saves, make you faster to your feet after diving plus they should help you handle the knocks better (both from shots and diving).

Again take care in the gym, we go to the gym to become a better keeper not an injured keeper.

Let me know what works for you keepers out there.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.



9 thoughts on “Gym training time”

  1. What about conditioning drills? There’s a beep test standard for all the teams I’m going for and I’m not really sure the best way to train for it.
    It’s hard since keepers never get much of a cardio workout at training or games, minus the few warm up laps, compared to players so we have to do all of our cardio outside of hockey. I have a spin bike at home, but I’m not sure what to do on it. I’ve read and been told by many that intervals are the best thing, but there are a lot of options for intervals so not sure what to do with that.


  2. As I read it this article is about strength training only. Both Plyometrics and conditioning are a different type of exercise.
    Not less important so maybe a different article for those.

  3. Folmer,
    No disrecpt but the article is called Gym Training Time, not just strength training takes place in the gym. The article seems to be based around what goalkeepers can do in the gym to improve performance and injury reduction. A good program can’t be just one dimension. A well rounded GK will need all the components to improve his/her performance.

  4. I know what the article is called and what you can do in a gym, but since this specific text only focusses on strength I simply assumed that that was it’s purpose. I don’t know the intent of the author and maybe the title isn’t chosen very well.

    As for plyos: ladder training is excellent for that. There are lots of exercises on the web and you can design your own with a bit of creativity. Low hurdles are also very useful.

    Every athlete needs at least basis stamina. So a couple of laps before every session is the minimum required. Further a GK needs sprint and recovery condition. Interval training can improve that.

    And as stated in the main article: find a professional to get advise before starting training to avoid injury.

  5. Hey guys,
    Yep a bit of an oversight on my part to not cover off the plyo and running side of conditioning or perhaps an incorrect title.

    Both are important parts of being a well rounded keeper.
    Plyometrics are another great way to gain that explosive power and are incorporated in to most of my training’s. I have found this to be better than having a specific plyo session, my knees don’t like doing all all that jumping in one session. As Flomer has mentioned footwork ladders and small hurdles are great to improve your foot/eye coordination which I find helps my keeping big time. Bounding, Jumping and counter movement jumps (stepping off a box and jumping) are beneficial to gain power.

    Now the dreaded R word… I think that most people would agree that a keeper needs to be fit but we don’t need to be marathon fit. (I wore a GPS unit during the Champions Trophy and was surprised to see that I ran 2.2km in one match…)
    I would expect a top level senior keeper to be able to run at least 10-11 in the beep test but would see no benefit in them running much higher than level 13-14. My best beep test score was 13.4 and I found the added fitness didn’t help my keeping too much, I would rather use that training time to get faster.
    To help with your agility keep the running pace high and work on changing direction and accelerating out of the turn. After all we can usually only run 16 yards in one direction.

    A good fitness base will enable you to train harder for longer in goal and I have always thought a fit body leads to a fit mind.



  6. tenho coseguido resultados, com meus goleiros aplicando todo, esses trabalho, tanto de força explosiva,pilometria,sendo que meus trabalhos tem duraçao de uma hora e dez ou vinte, procuro ser bem cauteloso nas minhas proogramaçao, dos meus trabalhos pois estou disputando o campeonato paulista, tanto nas categorias, sub-15 e sub-17. muito obrigado do prof. guanabara- prep. de goleiros.

Leave a Reply