The Hockey Player's Guide to Skating FasterSep 27, 2023
There are many skills and attributes that go into becoming a great hockey player – skating speed is probably one of the most important to taking a player to the next level. But, how can you do that aside from just skating more?
What you do in the gym can have a huge impact on unlocking your potential for speed on the ice. Here is an outline with video examples of how to maximize your skating speed. It’s a process that needs to be completed in sequential order to achieve the most results.
Step 1: It begins with core stability.
The more stable your core is, the more force you can produce with the big muscles (like glutes) that attach to it. Not only will this improve your performance, but also has implications for helping to prevent common injuries, like low back fractures that often occur in hockey athletes.
High Plank Leg Pull-Push
1. Start in the top of the push up position with core tight and chest pressed away from the floor as far as possible.
2. Lift one leg, using your glute and maintaining spine position.
3. Pull the same leg up toward your chest.
4. Return to extended position and repeat while maintaining a stable core.
Download the complete guide to skating faster, absolutely free, here.
Step 2: Hip extension mobility.
Increased hip range of motion allows for a bigger push off the ice, which means improved ability to produce force. More hip extension (moving your leg behind your body) allows for your glute muscles to activate better, which means you’ll have more strength available when pushing off in your skate.
3-Way Hip Mobilization
1. Begin on one knee with your tailbone tucked down and your core strong.
2. Shift forward over your front foot, maintaining your spine position.
3. Shift back and forth for several reps.
4. Move your front foot out 45 degrees and repeat, while keeping your pelvis facing forward.
Step 3: Glute activation and strength.
Fully activating and strengthening glutes is perhaps the biggest key to improving your skating power and speed. Glutes are the most powerful muscle in your body and using them to their potential can have massive impacts on your performance in hockey and many other sports.
Cross-Over Step Up
1. Stand to one side of a box holding a weight (if used) in your hand away from the box.
2. Cross your outside leg over in front to step up onto the box.
3. Shift your weight into the foot on the box and focus on using your glute to stand up.
4. Return back to the starting position under control and repeat.
Step 4: Functional stability.
There are many ways to train functional stability as a hockey athlete. It should focus around getting in postures and positions you’ll be in while playing and then performing various resistance and reactive exercises while maintaining your body position. Here is one good example.
Skate Stance Banded Leg Drivers
1. Stand in skating stance with band looped around back foot and anchored at an angle to the side and back.
2. Maintain balance on front leg and pull back leg through in a skating stride while also swinging the arm back on the same side.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat as fast as possible while maintaining body position and balance.
Step 5: Build explosive power.
When you have a strong and stable foundation to work from, it’s time to make yourself as explosive as possible. This is what will ultimately help you improve speed the most, but has to be done in conjunction and after a foundation is established in steps 1-4. There are hundreds of variations of plyometric exercises that are good for hockey athletes.
1-Leg Lateral Box Jump
1. Start standing to the side of a box and balanced on your outside leg.
2. Jump laterally up onto the box facing the same direction and landing on one foot.
3. Step down and repeat.
This is an outline of the concepts for developing and improving your speed on the ice. To access our full guide, complete with over 20 exercise examples, including my favorite advanced exercise for hockey athletes, click here or on the image to download it for free.