How to Skate Faster in Hockey: 6 Exercises for Speed + Power
While elite hockey players each have their own strengths and weaknesses, they usually have one thing in common: They’re fast, powerful, and efficient skaters. Skating is to hockey, what the swing is to baseball and golf. If you can’t skate, you can’t play. To get to the very top of your hockey game, one of the things you need to focus on is how to gain power in your skating to skate fast efficiently. Luckily, there are several drills and exercises you can start incorporating into your training that will speed you up on the ice. In this article, we’ll take a look at six of the most effective ones.
The 6 Best Exercises to Skate Faster and with More Power in Hockey
If you’re wondering how to increase your speed in skates on-the-ice, some of the best forms of training you can do is when you’re not wearing your skates. In the hockey world, we sometimes refer to this as “dryland training”. Here are six highly effective exercises that will help you become a faster hockey player.
1. Sprints (off-ice)
Short sprints are a great tool for improving your explosive pace. You don’t need to do a full 100 yards - once you hit max speed, just continue for 2-3 seconds, then walk back to the start to catch your breath and repeat the process. Learning proper sprinting form helps make sure you’re focusing on the right muscles, improves your efficiency, and reduces your risk of injury. Hockey is a game of sprints and anaerobic exercise. Think about the average shift in hockey. It’s 30-40 secs. Doing sprints off-ice, will help build muscle mass and power to the same muscles we use on-ice: glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. This translates to speed on the ice.
2. Box Jumps
Jumps (both weighted and unweighted) are plyometric exercises, which involve explosive movements that can help you build power in your legs. One of the best ways to practice jumps is with a box, or another stable platform. Stand in front of your box/platform, load into your athletic powerful stance- arms inline with torso, hip angle ~90 degrees, knees over toes, knee angle ~90 degrees, feet shoulder width apart. Spring up to the box/platform by driving your arms and feet up landing as softly as possible, making sure both your feet leave the ground and hit the platform at the same time. Step down from the box and repeat. To do weighted box jumps, repeat the same motion with a dumbbell in each hand.
3. Lateral (side) lunges
Lunges build strength and power in your glutes, quads, and hamstrings - the same muscles you need to gain explosive speed in hockey. Lateral or side lunges also work your abductors and adductors. To do a lateral lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and lunge sideways with one leg, almost as far as you can. Keep your stationary leg straight, and bend your lunging leg until you can touch the ground with your hand. Use your lunging leg to push back to your starting position, and repeat with the other leg. Keep your form through the lunge return back to your starting position each time, being mindful of your body position each lunge.
4. Body Squats
Squats are a classic strength-building exercise that can help skaters develop the power they need to push off the ice. Utilize the same athletic stance, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended in front of you. Lower your body as if you were sitting back into a chair, keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted. Pause briefly at the bottom before pushing back up to your starting position. Slow and controlled, controlled is fast. To add complexity, hold a medicine ball to your chest.
5. Box Step-ups
Step-ups are a great way to build strength in the quadriceps and glutes, which can help skaters generate more power with each stride, and in turn helps hockey players to skate faster. Find a stable platform ~30” off the ground to step on to. To do a step-up, have a hip-width stance and stand facing the box or other stable platform and place one full foot on top of the box or other stable platform. Keep knees in line with toes. Push off with that foot to lift your body up onto the platform, then step back down with the other foot. You can also add dumbbells if you’re looking for more of a challenge.
6. The PowerSkater™ by STRYD.os™
The PowerSkater™ by STRYD.os™ is a revolutionary off-ice skating system that mimics the bio-mechanical movement of skating. This unique system strengthens key lower body muscle systems that help hockey players to skate faster, including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also works the primary joints of the knee, ankles, and hips. The PowerSkater™ uses specially designed resistance bands to recreate the body weight push. Movement is out and back behind the body, not side to side. Each push is loaded out and back, thus each push and return has a loaded concentric and eccentric movement. With nothing to hold on to, the user must learn to maintain a balanced posture while forcing their trunk to develop a true “power-stabilization center”. Thus, it’s a really effective tool in teaching you how to skate faster for hockey.
Other tips to improve your skating speed in hockey
It’s not just exercises that can help you skate faster in hockey. There are plenty of other steps you can take to improve your speed on the ice, including:
- Optimizing your stride length. Your strides should involve complete extension of the leg and foot. Don’t kick up your heels until you have pushed all the way through your extension.
- Adjusting your posture. Your ideal stance should be slightly upright, bent at the hips with a bent knee. Don’t lean too far forward (or back). This puts you in the best position to reach a full-length stride.
- Skating without your gear. Hockey gear is heavy, and although it’s important to train in your gear for balance and posture, skating without it can also help to improve your form and focus on your speed.
- Repetition is key. Whether it’s the exercises described above or actual skating on ice, doing it day in and day out is crucial to your success in becoming a faster skater.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, the exercises and tips above (along with a hearty amount of perseverance and dedication!) can help you skate faster in hockey. Incorporating sprints, bodyweight exercises, and The PowerSkater™ by STRYD.os™ into your routine can make a huge difference to your speed on the ice.