The game of hockey is all about speed! The faster you can skate the more success you’ll experience on the ice. That’s why performing exercises for skating can be a game changer. In my opinion the exercises in this post give you the most bang for your buck in regard to increasing skating speed on the ice. These exercises fit in perfectly with sprint training, which could be the grandaddy of them all. These exercises take into consideration improvements in strength both bilateral and single leg, core stability, lateral power, and speed. Everything you need to become more explosive on the ice. Now let’s take a look at these exercises for skating faster and explain their importance and application.
Exercises For Skating Faster Begin with Trap Bar Deadlift
The trap Bar Deadlift is my favorite bilateral leg exercise for improving strength. The reason why this exercise made the list is due to its safety on the lower back and the stress it applies to the Quadriceps which are the main muscles used during a skating stride.
To perform this exercise properly make sure you have a neutral spine and an upright posture. Knees should be driven out and feet shoulder width apart. Apply some tension to the bar before lifting it off of the ground to avoid any jolting through the body from the driving up of the movement. I like to control the bar on the way down to take advantage of the eccentric contraction of the Quad muscle which gives you great strength benefits.
Bulgarian Split Squat Adds single Leg Strength for a Stronger Stride
Another one of the best exercises for skating faster is the Bulgarian Slit Squat of sometimes referred to as the Rear Elevated Single Leg Squat. This movement provides more sports specificity because of only have one leg experiencing the majority of the load. Skating and running/sprinting are performed on one leg which makes single leg movements ideal for improving sports performance.
This exercise is performed by elevating your rear foot onto a bench with the other foot planted completely on the ground a couple feet in front of the bench. You then lower the raised knee towards the ground feeling a comfortable stretch in the front of your leg. Follow this by lifting yourself back up off the ground with the majority of the force coming from the heel of the front planted foot.
The Lateral Lunge Is One Of The Best Exercises For Skating Faster
The Lateral Lunge is another great strengthening exercise and trains your legs in the same plane as the skating stride. This is another very sport specific exercise because of that fact.
The Lateral lunge is performed by stepping out to the side and immediately pushing back to the starting position making sure to push the hips back as you lower yourself towards the ground.
A More Explosive Skating Stride With The Lateral Hop
Power exercises for skating are extremely important. Speed is built on a foundation of strength and power. The Lateral Hop is a great Plyometric exercise to develop the power needed for a fast and explosive skating stride.
The Lateral Hop is performed by balancing on one leg and hopping forcefully on to the other leg by pushing sideways or laterally. After sticking the landing, you hop back in the opposite direction side to side.
Powerful Lateral Bounds
Lateral Bounds take Lateral Hops to the next level. This movement is very reminiscent of a skating stride and is one of the top rated exercises for skating. Bounds are another great example of a Plyometric movement to improve the skating stride and enhance explosiveness.
Lateral Bounds are performed in the same manner as Lateral Hops. The only difference is that instead of hopping directly sideways, you are hopping in a slight diagonal line moving forward. You are also immediately upon landing hopping in the other direction.
Core Stability With The Pallof Press
In order to demonstrate speed, you need to be able to transfer the force you put into the ground or ice through the rest of the body. This is only successful with a strong stable core. Without core stability, you are basically a wet noodle slowly moving down the ice unable to generate any type of speed or explosiveness.
The Pallof Press is performed by kneeling on one knee and extending a power band out in front of you which is attached to a bar or pole. You must resist the pull of the band to twist you around. By doing this you are strengthening your core musculature that will keep everything stiff and powerful.
Skating Speed With Sprinting
To skate fast you need to move fast. Therefore one of the most common way of expressing speed is through sprinting. By actually trying to move your body as fast as you possibly can you will inevitably improve your skating speed.
Simply perform sprints repeated several times with complete rest between bouts to allow for muscle and energy system recovery. Sprinting at 90% plus intensity will definitely create improvement.
To summarize, by performing these top 7 exercises for skating faster as part of your hockey training, you should have no problem increasing your skating speed and stride explosiveness. Through the benefits of increased strength, power, and speed off the ice, you will definitely notice the difference in your on ice performance.
Coach for the Boston Bruins and has worked with the Women’s Olympic Hockey Team.
If you are more interested in strictly increasing skating speed, Kevin also has a great book Speed Training For Hockey which explains exactly how to improve your skating speed and explosiveness.