Does Instability Training Make Hockey Players Better? | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Does Instability Training Make Hockey Players Better?

October 19, 2012 | Conor Doherty

Must See Hockey Videos

In our society, we're constantly looking for the next big thing, something that will spark our interest and really get us excited. We constantly crave new information and seek out new devices. Well, the same idea holds true in the hockey training world.

Over the past few years, instability training has really taken off in hockey workouts. The use of wobble boards, BOSU  balls and physioballs is now commonplace among hockey players as they train for their season. (Learn about functional training.)

But do these instability devices really help a hockey player's athletic ability? Or are they just the flavor of the month? If I were to choose an answer, I'd go with flavor of the month, based on the work of a respected trainer named Eric Cressey.

In his book,  The Truth About Unstable Surface Training, Cressey discusses the origins of unstable surface training and how it is beneficial in clinical settings to reduce ankle instability. His study, published in 2007 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that replacing as little as two to three percent of total training volume with unstable surface training interfered with improvements in peak power, sprinting speed and agility in soccer players.

Obviously a soccer player and a hockey player are hard to compare, since a foot on a flat surface is different from a skate on ice. But the use of unstable training surfaces is not specific to the sport of hockey, or to any sport really.

Think about a hockey player driving to the net with the puck and being checked by a defenseman. The force applied to his body is much higher than the stable surface he's on. If that isn't enough, when was the last time you saw the ice move or wobble while you skated or watched a game on TV? Never.

If you want to incorporate instability training into your workouts, consider using exercises that involve the unstable force being applied to the upper body instead of the lower body. These types of exercises are much more relevant to the sport of hockey.

Try these upper-body exercises to add instability to your training. They will make you a better hockey player.

Suitcase Deadlift

With this exercise, you go through the same motion as a regular Deadlift, except you hold a dumbbell at your side in one hand. This creates an unstable situation, in which you have to flex your core on the opposite side of your body to remain stable.

Sets/Reps: 4x6 each side

Single-Arm Push Press

This exercise is like the Dumbbell Shoulder Press, except you stand up and use only one arm. Use your legs to give yourself a little nudge before you push the dumbbell straight up. The exercise also creates instability, since one side of the body has to work to keep the whole body stable.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8 each arm

Single-Arm Dumbbell Press

Perform this exercise like a regular Dumbbell Press, except in alternating fashion. The opposite side of your body has to work to keep you stable in place while you perform the press.

Sets/Reps: 3x8-10 each arm

Pallof Cable Press

Stand sideways to the cable machine holding the handle with both hands directly in front. Pull the handle toward you and into your chest, then push out so that you end up in the starting position. This exercise is one of the best for strengthening the muscles that prevent rotation and stabilize your core, key for maintaining body position when checked by an opponent.

Sets/Reps: 3x10 each side

For more hockey training information, click here.

Photo: drive.ca

Conor Doherty
- Conor Doherty, PTS, is an athletic trainer in Dryden, Ontario, who specializes in sports performance. The majority of his clients are hockey players. Learn more...
Conor Doherty
- Conor Doherty, PTS, is an athletic trainer in Dryden, Ontario, who specializes in sports performance. The majority of his clients are hockey players. Learn more...
Must See
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 4,195,654
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,796,683
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,285,230

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,529
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Todd Durkin

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises