Lower Body Training for Hockey

28 Nov

While upper body strength is important for hockey players, it should be last on your list of priorities.  Core comes first, followed by your legs, and then upper body exercises.  Power sports, relies on the strength and power generated by the legs.  Your upper body exercises should not occupy more than 40% of your time in the weight room.  When pressed for time, always train your legs.

Athletics demand a great deal of leg strength, but more importantly they demand single leg strength.  In most sports you are usually on one leg at a time, not two.  To develop the type of speed, balance and agility needed in hockey, then it is necessary to do single leg exercises.

The following three exercises provide a good place to start in the development of single leg strength.

 

1: Step-Ups

Step-ups are a good place to develop both single leg strength and balance.  When performing the step-up, it is necessary to select the correct height to step up on.  Your thigh should be parallel to the ground when placing your leg on the box. If you cannot handle a box that tall then use a smaller box that will allow you step up while maintaining your balance.

Start: To start, stand behind the box.  Place 1 foot on the middle of the box and step up, forcing yourself to balance without placing the remaining leg on the box.
Reps/Sets:  Complete 5 reps on one leg and then the other, do not do alternate reps.  Rest between sets.
Progression: Start with body weight only until you are able to master the exercise with ease and balance.  You can then add variety of weights while progressively increasing weight over time.  You could use dumbbells, weight vest, medicine balls, barbell, etc.

 

2: Step-Ups from the Side

Start: To start, stand to the side of the box.  Place 1 foot on the middle of the box and step up, trailing the other leg behind.  Work on your balance.
Reps/Sets:  Complete 5 reps on one leg and then the other, do not do alternate reps.  Rest between sets.
Progression:  Step-ups from the side use many of the same muscles used when performing front step-ups; however side step-ups require the use of the large adductor/groin muscles.  Due to the difficulty of this exercise, less weight should be used to ensure safety.

 

3: Split Squat

This exercise is that great introduction exercise into lunges which should become a staple of any athletic development training protocol.

Start:  Begin by taking one knee. The front leg should start with the knee bent at 90*along with the knee on the floor (both knees will start at 90*). From the floor, you will press yourself up while maintaining balance. Once you’re at the top you’ll slowly lower yourself back to floor while maintaining balance.
Reps/Sets:  Complete 5 reps on one leg and then the other, do not do alternate reps.  Rest between sets.
Progressions: Once you’ve mastered the split squat using only body weight you can progress by holding a weight with both hands at chest level. Once you’ve mastered holding weights with both hands you can make the exercise more challenging by holding a weight in one hand by your side.

 

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” – Herschel Walker

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