Nearly every hockey player who comes through the doors of my facility asks, "How can I skate faster?" Besides your innate game sense and competitiveness, skating is the most important and improvable skill to enhance your hockey game.
Here are six top exercises you should incorporate into your hockey training to increase your skating speed.
Research shows faster skaters have close to 50 percent greater hip abduction than slower ones. Part of that comes from hip mobility, but with that mobility must come strength and stability.
- Assume all-fours position.
- Lift your leg directly to your side and hold for two counts. Keep your knee at 90 degrees.
- Lower to the start position.
Tip: Progress to a Standing Mini-Band Hip Abduction
The two-leg glide is the most common position on the ice, so you need to be strong in a forward flexed, bent-knee position. Bonus: the Goblet Squat will improve your Squat, even if you're experienced.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell vertically with your hands grasping the upper part of the dumbbell.
- Keeping your chest up and the dumbbell in contact with your sternum and stomach, squat until your elbows touch your knees. Hold this position for four seconds.
- Extend your hips and knees to stand up.
The skating stride consists of two primary movements: the forward leg stabilizes while the rear leg pushes off the ice. The Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squat is no different.
- Stand in lunge position with your back foot on a bench or box.
- Hold dumbbells in both hands with your arms extended at your sides.
- Bend your front knee to slowly lower into lunge position over four counts, until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Keep your front knee behind your toes.
- Extend your hip and knee to drive up to start position.
Sets/Reps: 3x5 each leg
Tip: Progress to a front-squat grip with a barbell.
Goblet Side Lunge
Hockey players need to be strong from side to side. The Goblet Side Lunge develops this essential attribute, while also improving hip mobility and trunk stability.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holdinga dumbbell vertically with your hands grasping the upper part of the dumbbell.
- Take a large step to the side and shift your weight over that foot.
- Keeping your chest up, sit your hips back and lower until your thigh is parallel to ground.
- Push through the floor to return to standing position.
Sets/Reps: 3x8 each side
Hockey players tend to specialize in their sport too early, and it negatively impacts their athleticism. To counteract this, become a more efficient mover with the Wall Drill.
- Stand 3 to 4 feet away from and facing a wall.
- Lean forward and place your hands on the wall so your body is at a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms straight.
- Drive up with your knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Return your foot to the ground and repeat with your opposite foot.
- Continue in an alternating fashion.
Sets/Reps: 4x5 each leg
The Heiden, adapted from speed skating, improves power, stability and movement efficiency in a manner similar to a skating stride.
- Stand on your left leg with your hips and knees slightly bent.
- Extend your left hip, knee and ankle to jump laterally to the side.
- Land on the ball of your right foot with your hips and knees slightly bent to absorb the impact.
- Immediately push through your right leg to jump in the opposite direction.
- Continue jumping from leg to leg to complete the set.
Sets/Reps: 4x5 each leg