'What summer exercises can my son do to stay in shape?'

All you need is a pair of wheels to stay in top shape when the snow's gone.

Q: My son doesn't want to lose his edge during the off-season, but times are tight and we can't afford to put him in summer hockey! What sorts of home exercises can he do to stay sharp for next season?

Andy, peewee AA hockey parent, Calgary

A: Good question Andy. Here's a couple things your son can do to sharpen his skills, courtesy of fitness expert Ed McNeely.

The first is the "crossover step-up" exercise. McNeely explains:

"This is a simple exercise that can be done at home with a small box, bench or stool. The box or bench used for this exercise needs to be high enough to create a 120 degree angle at the knee when the foot is placed on the box. Initially you won't need any weight for this exercise, body weight will be plenty.

"Cross one leg in front of the other and place the entire foot of the leg that has crossed on the top of the box, shifting your weight to the leg on the box. Powerfully extend the knee, hip, and ankle of the foot on the box, and bring your body to a standing position on top of the box.

"Step off the box, keeping all your weight on your working leg and lightly touch the ground with the non-working leg, do not put any weight on the non working leg, it is only being used as a guide to tell you when you have gone low enough. Immediately stand back up. When you have completed all the repetitions for one leg move to the other side of the box and repeat the exercise for the other leg."

The full exercise explanation is in McNeely's blog.

Second, if you have a bike—stationary or otherwise—you have a great conditioning tool at your disposal. Bike sprints are a great way to keep yourself in top shape during the off-season. McNeely has a nice entry on bike sprints that will help your son stay ready for the fall.