Strength training for the lower body typically focuses on the muscles that propel you forward. When you move forward (e.g., running, skating), your quads and glutes fire powerfully to generate speed. This is the primary reason why exercises such as the Back Squat are a staple in any training program. Yet, it’s important to remember that these muscles aren't the only ones working to help you move quickly.
Although they are not as big or sexy as the quads and glutes, the hip flexors are crucial for increasing your explosive speed. Located on the front of the hips, they are activated when the knees are raised, which occurs when you take a forward stride. As you increase the strength and conditioning of your hip flexors, your strides may become longer and you will be less susceptible to fatigue, which can sabotage your technique late in a game.
Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton Oilers center, uses Box Toe Touches to help develop his hips flexors. The high knee drive and endurance component helps generate the consistent quick strength he needs to blow by defenders.
- Select box height that brings thigh parallel to ground when foot touches it
- Assume start position with right toe on box and left on ground
- Drive left knee up and lightly touch toe on box while simultaneously lightly touching right toe on ground
- Continue in alternating fashion; repeat for specified reps
Reps/Sets: 3x30 seconds