Hockey Exercises

Don’t be fooled by “hockey specific” exercises!

Discover the truth that the so-called “hockey training experts” don’t want you to know!

In general, most hockey exercises are exercises that athletes from other sports benefit from as well.  So-called hockey-specific exercises, such as band-resisted shooting, are more likely to contribute to injuries related to imbalances created by the unique movements of hockey.

Strength and range of motion imbalances among joints and between sides of the body are the primary predictors of injury in hockey players.  Constantly overloading the patterns involved in the game of hockey with “hockey-specific exercises” will accelerate the rate at which you create these imbalances and get hurt!

So what makes a good hockey exercise?

Check out our Hockey Training Exercise Video Library, which has over 230 training videos of effective Hockey Exercises!

Your hockey exercises MUST do these 4 things!

1. Create appropriate range of motion (ROM) around specific joints used in skating and puckhandling (more range of motion is NOT always better!)

The hockey stride is a unique movement and requires that you have good hip ROM (hip flexion on your stance leg; hip extension, abduction, and external rotation on your stride leg).  While crossing over, your hips go through significant amount of adduction and internal rotation.

Hip range of motion is key for hockey players!

Puck handling and shooting involves rotation through the upper spine (thoracic spine) and movement in all planes/directions in the shoulders and wrists.


A full body rotational power exercise.

A full body rotational power exercise.

In addition to needing range of motion around the hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, and wrists on the ice, safe power, speed, and strength hockey training off the ice necessitates that you have a lot of ankle range of motion.  Hockey players spend so much time in skates that their ankles get locked up and begin to lose range of motion and the surrounding muscles begin to lose the ability to reflexively control movement. The fact that so many hockey players spend the remainder of their “out of hockey skates” time wearing shoes, usually with a relatively high heel (such as Nike Shox!) only makes things worse!

2. Developing strength and power in the muscles used in the game of hockey

Despite what so many self-proclaimed “hockey training experts” may have you believe, there are no magic muscles that are only used in the game of hockey.

The truth is that the game of hockey uses all 600+ skeletal muscles in your body, just like every other sport.

However, hockey is unique in the relative stresses it places on specific muscles because of the movement patterns and physical impact  you undergo on the ice.

For example, there are several muscles (hip flexors and adductors) that you’ve probably heard collectively referred to as the “groin”. Of these, a couple of the muscles adduct and internally rotate the hip.  Don’t let my geeky use of functional movement terms confuse you.  Basically these muscles are the ones stretched at the end of a hockey stride on your stride leg.  These muscles are used in every sport, but in hockey they are required to decelerate (or slow down) your stride leg a few thousand times every time you’re on the ice.

These muscles need to be powerful, strong, and have great endurance.


A hockey exercise to help prevent "groin" strains.

A hockey exercise to help prevent “groin” strains.


3. Reinforce athletic movement patterns and the physical skills needed to reinforce these movement patterns

Hockey exercises should emphasize athletic movement patterns such as simultaneous hip, knee, and ankle extension (such as in jumping or a skating stride), hip and shoulder rotation, and independent arm actions.

There are a number of physical skills that can be trained off the ice to help improve your hockey performance. Hockey players need great single-leg stability, rotational core stability and power to transfer energy from the hips through the shoulders, and upper body strength and power in independent arm action patterns.  All of these can be trained using specific hockey exercises.

4. Address common hockey injuries to reduce player injury risk (talent won’t do you any good if you’re sitting in the stands!)

The best hockey strength and conditioning coaches in the industry seem to agree that their hockey programs have two primary goals, in this order:

1) Reduce injury risk
2) Improve performance

Most hockey players and coaches look at training in the reverse order, if they acknowledge injury prevention at all!  As a hockey player, there is nothing more painful than sitting in the stands watching your team struggle without you.  There is nothing more frustrating that taking a week or two off from hockey practice because of a strained groin or hip flexor, just to return to the ice and “tweak” it again.  There is nothing more painful AND frustrating than sitting out 3-6 months of a season because of sports hernia or shoulder surgery!

A proper hockey training program should include hockey exercises to DRASTICALLY reduce your risk of injuries, especially to the hip, lower abdomen, and shoulders.

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  • How to maximize skating speed through simple technique improvements
  • How to combine linear and transitional speed training techniques to maximize on-ice transfer from off-ice training
  • Plyometric progressions to improve lower body power and skating speed
  • Full body power progressions to improve shooting velocity
  • Conditioning modalities and progressions to ensure you’re as strong and fast in the third period as you are in the first

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Check out this video for a small sample of the information contained within Ultimate Hockey Training!

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One Response to “Hockey Exercises”

  1. […] If you haven’t yet, check out my new hockey training site, which has videos of hundreds of hockey training exercises on it and my Off-Ice Performance Training Course at a drastically discounted […]