From the Trainer’s Room: Use two simple exercises to improve your speed on the ice
Today’s young stars like Connor McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau are so effective because of their speed. Perennial MVPs Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have an unreal ability to accelerate and beat their opponent to the puck.
Speed is determined by stride length times stride frequency and can be trained successfully.
Utilize the following to make you a faster skater:
Squat Jumps: Start with your feet shoulder width apart and pointing forward. Squat down until your legs are just above parallel to the floor and explode upward, jumping as high as you can. Upon descent, shock absorb like a spring being loaded by bending your knees and hips until your thighs are just above parallel and repeat your jump. Perform three sets of 6-12 jumps.
Split Squat Jumps: Start in a lunge position with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward and your thigh just above parallel to the floor. The majority of your weight should be placed on the front leg. Explode upward, jumping as high as you can. When in the air, switch legs so that you land with the opposite leg in front of you. Shock absorb again by flexing your knees and hips and when your front thigh gets just over parallel, repeat the jump, switching legs again. Perform 3-6 jumps for each leg for a total of 6-12 jumps. Repeat for three total sets.
To increase the intensity, a kettlebell held between the legs or weight vest may be added to the squat jumps. For the split squat jumps, dumbbells can be used in both hands or add a weight vest.
Chris Phillips ATC, CSCS, is a former athletic trainer in the NHL with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Washington Capitals and currently owns Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.