Power skating is a skill that will elevate your game and allow you to blow past your opponents. True power skating for hockey combines technique, power, agility and speed. Skating technique must be learned and practiced on the ice as you develop proper mechanics, but speed, power and agility can be supported off the ice through strength and conditioning drills. Here are examples of strength training and conditioning you should add to your workouts:
Start with hockey strength and weight training. Hockey is a full body sport, but power and speed come from the lower body and core. Strong legs and a strong flexible core are key to puck control, balance and power skating. Choose exercises that strengthen your quads including squats and lunges which also stretch and strengthen your groin and prevent injuries on the ice.
Core strength in hockey is vital for deceleration and high speed direction changes. In the gym use compound movements for core stimulation and strengthening like chin up/pull up variations, rows, front squats, lunges, overhead presses and good mornings.
Cardio training for hockey power skating. If you are not a die-hard runner, find cardio training that puts less stress on your joints, especially right before hockey season starts. You can get some excellent cardiovascular and aerobic training without pounding the heck out of your knees and ankles. Swim laps, use a stepper or stairway training, try a stationary bike or an elliptical machine to increase aerobic capacity and help build the endurance you’ll need on the ice. Or do sport specific skating drills if you have a rink available.
You’ll also need to increase your anaerobic level to withstand the aerobic and anaerobic shifts out on the ice during the game. Interval training is the best approach, for example 30 seconds of skating sprints followed by 45 or 60 seconds of slower, recovery skating to get yourself in shape for the season.
Plyometric training for hockey power and strength. Hockey requires speed and agility for quick movements like stopping short and changing direction while at speed, jumping over other players and their dropped hockey sticks, skating fast, and turning quickly on the ice. Plyometrics can help develop speed, strength, agility and power required for these movements.
Plyometric exercises, often referred to as “box training”, trains your muscles, connective tissues and your nervous system so you can easily make these fast moves on the ice. Plyometrics will help you with rapid direction changes, your overall agility and it will help increase your shooting power during your game.
Hockey players push off to the side when they skate which requires strong lateral muscles, for best results, select plyometrics that focus on single-leg and lateral movements. Choose from Single-Leg Jumps, Scissor Jumps, Side-to-Side Bounds, Lateral Box Jumps, or Single-Leg Box Jumps.
Remember that skating technique is extremely important to power skating, but fitness is equally as important. Your skating technique can take you a long way, but if you aren’t in the gym training for more speed, strength and agility, then you’ll never reach your maximum power skating potential.