Ice hockey is a dynamic, fast-paced, and physical game that requires a unique combination of strength, balance, and power. Hockey players have to be able to prepare themselves for the speed and physicality of the game – a difficult thing to do when you're stuck at home with no access to ice time. Here are five exercises you can do at home to prepare your body for the start of next season:
Resisted Hockey Striders: This functional exercise improves your single leg balance as you stabilize while performing a diagonal stride through resistance. This is a great dry-land exercise to mimic the skating motion. Equipment for this exercise includes a Long-looped Resistance Band.
Here’s what you do: Kick back your resisted leg until it's straight behind you, then return it to the starting point. Repeat the motion continuously on this side, then switch the band to your other foot and repeat the motion continuously on your other side.
High to Low Stick Chops Develop: This exercise incorporates rotational strength and power in a stance position to improve stick mechanics and force behind your shot. The equipment used is a Long-looped Resistance Band.
Here’s what you do: Rotate your arms up and toward the attachment, then quickly rotate them back down in front of your hips. Repeat this motion continuously, being sure to keep your hips stable. Switch sides and hand position so you’re now holding the resisted end of the bar on your other side. Be sure to keep your hands separated during the entire movement, as this will help stimulate the mechanics of a hockey shot.
Resisted 1,2,1 Crossover: This complex movement helps mimic the cross-over skating technique and teaches balance, coordination, and lateral movement. Equipment for this one also includes Long-looped Resistance Band.
Here’s what you do: Cross your inside leg over your outside leg and over the first hurdle, then push off of your inside leg and step over the second hurdle with both feet, landing with both feet outside the second hurdle. Now cross your outside leg over your inside leg and the second hurdle, step over the inside hurdle and land on both feet inside the first hurdle. Repeat this motion continuously.
Lateral Lunge and Hop: This functional exercise is an excellent dry-land maneuver that works on single leg balance to weight transfer, which occurs when striding on the ice. Again, use a Long-looped Resistance Band for this exercise.
Here’s what you do: Stand upright in a stable position with your hands straight out in front of you. Step to one side into a lateral lunge, sitting back on your glutes, then return to the top by pushing off your stepping leg. Then explosively push off your plant leg and hop to the side, landing on your opposite leg with stability.
Band-Assisted Single Leg Pistol Squat: In terms of building single-leg strength this dynamic assisted movement is integral in developing stability, drive, and explosiveness for hockey players. Equipment includes a Long-looped Resistance Band.
Here’s what you do: Sit back into a half-squat on your plant leg, holding your knee stable and behind your toes. Then push back up to stand up straight on that leg at a quick pace. Repeat this motion continuously. Switch sides, now balancing on your other leg, and repeat.