Hockey Players: Develop Strong Hips for a Powerful Skating Stride | STACK

Hockey Players: Develop Strong Hips for a Powerful Skating Stride

April 28, 2014

Must See Hockey Videos


Hockey players spend most of their time standing on forward-angled skates with their torsos upright and their hips flexed, a position that usually leads to large quads, inactive glutes and tight hip flexors.

Unfortunately, living in this position further tightens the hip flexors and removes the glutes—the largest and most powerful muscle group in your body—from the skating stride.

The body always take the path of least resistance, so the active hip flexors usually take over for weak and inactive glutes. Your hip flexors help you push off the ice and pull your knee up toward your chest in preparation for your next stride. Although they were not intended to contribute to backside mechanics, the hip flexors now do so at the expense of your spine.

WATCH: Henrik Zetterberg's Complete Workout

In reality, the glutes should be the first muscles that fire when you push off the ice, followed by the adductors (which rotate the leg outward), the quadriceps (which straighten the knee) and the hamstrings (which extend the hip).

To see if your muscles are firing in the proper order, take the test shown in the following video.

To develop proper movement patterns and muscle strength needed for a powerful stride, I recommend the following movements. Bonus: Correcting faulty movement patterns and improving mobility help prevent groin strains—one of the most common injuries in hockey.

RELATED: Training With Mike Green and Jordan Eberle

Develop Hip Strength and Stability

Hockey requires you to push off one leg at a time, so you need to train that way. Standing on one leg while maintaining the same body position as if you were on two legs is tough, but it increases core and hip stability, allowing you to contain the energy produced by your legs to produce a stable torso and efficient stride. Try these exercises:

Crawling

Crawling mimics the movement pattern of skating, while training the core to remain completely motionless. It reinforces stride mechanics, and you get a killer core workout. Not bad for a "baby move."

Forward Crawl

Backward Crawl

Chain Crawl

Once you master the bodyweight versions, you can load it with chains.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Single-Leg Squats

When you stand on one leg, the muscles attached to your hip work overtime to keep you stable, improving your core and hip support. Try to sit back and down into your heel, then drive your hips up and forward as you stand back up.

Skater Squats

This exercise takes its name from the mid-point of the movement. It simulates the forward-leg position of a stride, improving stability and stride recovery.

Eccentric Leg Curls

Strong hamstrings reduce the risk of groin pulls, because they reinforce co-contraction of the hamstrings and glutes. To do Leg Curls properly, fully contract your glutes to raise your hips as your hamstrings bend your legs at the knee.

Single-Leg, Straight-Leg Deadlift

The slightly bent knee position of the Single-Leg Straight-Leg Deadlift mimics the position that the leg and hip assume during the contact phase of skating. You promote proper muscle recruitment and a faster, more efficient stride.

Increase Power and Refine Backside Drive Mechanics

Once you develop fundamental strength, you need to convert it to usable power. To do this, it's critical to perform exercises that reinforce driving mechanics and teach your body to put max power into the ice with each stride.

RELATED: Master Stickhandling Fundamentals

High Knee Skip, Forward and Backward

Skipping reinforces the high-knee drive, arm swing and stable core needed to skate.

Partner Chase Sprint

Once you master skipping, progress to sprinting drills such as the Partner Chase Sprint. These increase hip separation and teach you to put force into the ground. Lean as far forward as you can and make a "first push" to start off your sprint rather than a "first step" by rocking back and repositioning your foot (stepping) with your trailing leg.

Sled Pushing and Pulling

The sled is one of the best tools to teach the full extension required in skating as well as sprinting patterns. It also trains the core to remain stable.

Rich Thaw
- Rich Thaw is a strength & conditioning coach at CoreXcellence (Montreal), who also does online training and nutrition consultation through his website, InnerAthleteHQ.com. When training...
Rich Thaw
- Rich Thaw is a strength & conditioning coach at CoreXcellence (Montreal), who also does online training and nutrition consultation through his website, InnerAthleteHQ.com. When training...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Improve Your Durability With 3 BOSU Exercises

Recent research indicates that neuromuscular training is essential for minimizing injuries to athletes such as ACL injuries, ankle sprains and lower...

Exercise of the Week: Glute Ham Raise

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

4 Bodyweight Exercises to Strengthen Hamstrings

Hanley Ramirez's Overhead Tire Pull

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training

3 Athletic Arm Exercises for Big Guns

The 12 Best RDL Variations

Flexibility Isn't the Problem With Your Hamstrings

Man Does 4,300 Pull-Ups in One Day

The Hardest Plank of All Time

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs

Prevent Hamstring Injuries With 3 Mobility Drills

Do Your First Pull-Up With This Simple Workout. Guaranteed.

Hockey Training Designed Specifically for Goalies

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Olympic-Style Hamstring Hold for T&F

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

Hamstring Strength and Flexibility Series

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

Build Rock Solid Glutes With This 30-Day Workout Plan

The Softball Dugout Workout

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

Develop a Bulletproof Core With Advanced Barbell Rollouts

Sumo Deadlift for Football Strength

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

10-Minute Ab Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Develop Speed With a Power Bag Workout

Why You're Not Reaching Your Strength and Speed Potential

The Best Hamstring Exercises for Track Athletes

7 Tips to Master Single-Leg Exercises

5 Exercises to Keep Your Shoulders Healthy All Season Long

3 Simple Tips to Deadlift More Weight

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

Build Toughness With This Weight Vest Basketball Workout

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

Why Bear Crawls Are All the Rage Right Now

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

Demolish Your Delts With This Super Shoulder Training Strategy

Increase Hamstring Strength to Prevent ACL Injuries

Study Reveals the 2 Best Hamstring Exercises

The 14 Best Exercises From 2014

How Baseball Players Can Prevent Hamstring Injuries

Protect Your Hamstrings From Injury

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

How to Train With a Hamstring Injury

Should You Train for Absolute or Explosive Strength?

Do Your First Deadlift

Male Soccer Players More Prone to Hamstring Strains

3 Loading Schemes to Build Muscle Size

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

Hamstring Injury Know-How

3 Key Hamstring Stretches for Athletes