In this post I'm going to talk about whats going to improve your skating speed in the quickest time possible instead of giving you drills that will increase your speed over a long time. As well as increasing speed, if you follow the steps below you can increase:
- Overall power
- All around quickness on the ice
To do this I'm going to focus on a huge issue with hockey players that are trying to skate faster and that is structural imbalances.
To it put simply structural imbalances are just the overdevelopment in one muscle from doing the same motions over and over in a sport. The issue with this is you want to be able to meet the strength of one part of your body with another part of your body to drive optimal movement. You will always be sacrificing optimal performance if you are structurally imbalanced because no matter how strong you are, your movement mechanics will be thrown off.
To fix this we're going to address the four main muscles that are overdeveloped, and exercises that will helps fix this. The three muscles that we're going to focus on strengthening are:
The muscle that's overdeveloped in a lot of hockey players is the Vastus Lateralis. The muscle that is usually undeveloped in the Vastus Medialis. Just fixing this issue alone has been shown to vastly improve performance and speed in hockey players. Exercises that can target the Vastus Medialis are the Peterson Step up but if you're unable to do this try a Poliquin step up.
A big problem with hockey players is their glutes are much stronger than their hamstrings. But its not as easy as just doing hamstring exercises because hamstrings are a muscle group, not just a single muscle. Hamstrings consist of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and the semimembranosus. You need to build up your strength in the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus. To build these up try and rotate these exercises in your workouts:
- Lying/seated/kneeling hamstring curls
- Dumbbell or barbell stiff legged deadlifts
- Barbell hip thrusts
- Swiss ball single leg curls
The core is an on-going issue with hockey players who don’t seek to balance themselves through training because hockey is a unilateral sport. Meaning, if you’re left-handed you are always playing on that side and the muscles responsible for making you strong as a left-handed player continuously get overworked and overdeveloped through years of hockey.
The core plays a role in transmitting power from the lower body to the upper body and is in constant demand no matter what you are doing on the ice. Skating, stopping, shooting, checking, saving, your core is involved in all of it. If you want to skate faster on the ice you need to correct your imbalances in your core.
The core doesn’t have to be directly hit all the time. It receives massive stimulation and strength gain simply from big movements such as:
- Front squats
- Overhead presses
To recap, try to include these exercises to your workout routine to balance out your muscles. If you’re balanced, you’re a whole new player. It has an enormous effect on your performance and longevity in the sport. You need to be balanced, because anything you build on top of imbalances only creates greater imbalances.