Three simple exercises to build on-ice explosiveness ...
While nothing can replace actual ice time, there are lots of off-ice, plyometric drills that can help improve a player's skating during the season and in the offseason.
Let's start by defining plyometrics ... Plyometrics, originally called "jump training" or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power, defined as speed and strength. Plyometric training
focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or "explosive" manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Athletes primarily use plyometrics to improve performance and are a perfect complement to a hockey player's on-ice training.
Below I share several of my favorite off-ice, plyometric drills that players of all ages can do to improve their stride as well as explosiveness.
1. Diagonal Lateral Lunges - The diagonal lateral lunge is one of my favorite off-ice drills as the technique and body positioning most closely align with the proper stride technique a player needs to be successful. The diagonal lateral lunge requires the head and chest to be up, a deep knee bend, with a full extension and explosive push-off from the opposite leg (the push-off leg). It's a simple drill that hits all the muscle groups that are required for a powerful and explosive skating stride.
The video below, courtesy of HockeyTraining.com, illustrates how to carry out the exercise. Click the button below to play.
2. Standing Broad Jumps - The biggest benefit of standing broad jump training is that it improves the reaction of fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout the body. Like other plyometric exercises, effective broad jumps require your leg and core muscles to contract very quickly so you can generate maximal force with each leap.
As illustrated in the video below, courtesy of Fitness Blender, you can do this in a small area, and it requires zero equipment. Click the video to see a proper demonstration of the exercise.
3. Box Jumps - Box jumps are a great core exercise to enhance your muscle tone and gain explosiveness, endurance, and power. Box jump training has many advantages. It works more than just a single muscle. Box jumps engage your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Jump from the floor up onto a box or another elevated surface that is stable. CrossFit provides a great illustration in the video below. Click to play.
These are just a few of our favorites that can be performed by anyone, anywhere, and at any time without the need for equipment, a gym membership, or an expensive trainer.
We will follow this post up with a more expansive list of exercises, but in the meantime, these are great, simple drills that all players can work on to help their game this coming winter.
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