Regardless of the sport that you play, strength, speed and power are variables that should be included in any well rounded training regimen. For today’s article, the focus will be on strength and power training, and the role it plays in developing skating speed for hockey athletes.
When hockey athletes start training in our facility, the most common fault seen tends to be the inability to hold a proper skating stance on our hockey treadmills. The common factor as to why athletes cannot hold that position is due to a lack of lower body strength. Lower body strength is crucial for hockey athletes due to the squat position they need to maintain for proper skating mechanics.
While strength training is going to assist the athlete in maintaining proper skating mechanics, training power will help the athlete transfer that strength they developed in to explosive, forceful movements. Power training in a weight room is predominantly focused on moving weight as quickly as possible. Hang Cleans, Box Jumps, Heidens, and movements that target glute activation are critical in developing power.
An article by Behm, et al. showed a correlation between vertical jump height and skating speed. The reason the correlation exists is because of the explosive nature of the vertical jump. How quickly an athlete can contract their muscles directly affects the amount of force created. The slower the contraction, the less force, resulting in a lower jump. This will typically mean a slower skating stride, as well, since the lower body musculature cannot contract quickly. By training our athletes with proper strength and power exercises, we can increase the rate of force production, which results in a more powerful skating stride.
The best part about this is that every athlete has the ability to become faster. Even an elite athlete has room for improvement. Plus, who wouldn’t want to gain an edge on their competition?
– Dave Robbins
Facility Director at BlueStreak Headquarters
Masters in Exercise Science and Nutrition
Athletic Republic level 1 & 2, American Red Cross First Aid/CPR
BEHM, DAVID G.; WAHL, MICHAEL J.; BUTTON, DUANE C.; POWER, KEVIN E.; ANDERSON, KENNETH G.
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2005