Gliding Glutes

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New Jersey Devils defenseman Paul Martin has quietly put together a solid career by dominating on the back end of the ice. His ability to stay healthy and play consistently has helped Martin develop into one of the most feared defenders in the NHL.

According to Cal Dietz, the University of Minnesota's head Olympic strength and conditioning coach and Martin's off-season strength coach, keeping their glutes strong is essential for hockey players, because the glutes are a key component to skating, driving the external rotation of the hips.

Developed glutes also protect against common hockey injuries, which is why most professional hockey players make it a point to strengthen their backsides. Dietz says, "We're able to make sure that they keep their knee injuries and so forth down, or their knee pain down, by having the glutes work all the time."

Dietz prescribes Manual Clam Glutes at the end of workouts throughout the off-season to help Martin and his other athletes stay dominant when they hit the ice.

Manual Clam Glutes
•    Lie on side on bench with knees slightly bent
•    Against resistance from partner, raise top knee using glute medius at side of hip
•    Lower against resistance from partner and repeat
Sets/Reps/Rest Time: 3/6-8/30-45 seconds

Coaching Points: Have partner apply enough resistance to make it difficult // Go through a full range of motion // Keep your back straight and a slight bend in the knees throughout the exercise

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock