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3 Exercises to Improve On-Ice Acceleration

Agility Training

During the hockey season players typically do two types of workout - the nothing at all workout or the team workout, which often (not always) looks something like running stairs.

Nothing against the stairs themselves, but repeatedly running stairs is an endurance exercise. Yes, it is hard, but it is still endurance. You actually (hopefully) get a fair amount of that during practice. What we are talking about in this article is your strength and power for the lightning fast changes of direction and startling acceleration.

If you are only going to do three exercises (and hopefully you take your hockey seriously enough to do more than just the absolute minimum) these are the ones.

I could easily give you about a hundred exercises that given the right volume and intensity would give you the same result – lightning fast changes of direction and startling acceleration – but I chose these three because you can do them at home with very basically no equipment other than dumbbells.

Watch the video below first so you know exactly how to do each exercise.

Here's how to do some of these exercises in more details.

Skater Hop + Knee Down

  • This one is for power and to teach you to apply force from a low position. Failing to get low in the hips is one of the biggest factors limiting your speed right now. This drill will help you solve that issue very quickly.
  • Do 3-4 sets of only 5 reps per side.

Elevated Hip Drive

  • Your glutes are simply your most powerful skating muscles. You thought it was your quads didn’t you? They are important too, but look at the fastest skaters in the NHL, heck look at the speed skaters on TV in their skintight suits. They have some huge quads, but take a look at their butts! MASSIVE!
  • You can add weight to this one by holding dumbbells, weight plates or a barbell across the front of your hips.
  • Do 3 sets of 8-12 on each side. If you cannot maintain perfect form, then use two legs to build up the strength…and get ready for a boost in your speed on the ice.

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

  • This one is to help you build strength. I chose it because it lets you go very heavy since you are not as off-balance as you may be in a single leg squat, but you still need to do some single leg stabilization.
  • Oh yeah, it also puts a good emphasis on your glutes – looks like you will be needing some new jeans to fit your new butt!
  • Do 3 sets of 4-6 reps on each leg if you have been training consistently, if not then start with 8 reps on each leg.

Happy training and all the best for much success on the ice.