Skating speed is one of the keys to success for hockey players and the primary feature in speed skating competition. Practice and drills on the ice can develop a good deal of skating speed, agility and balance, but dryland training off the ice also helps. Dryland exercises act as a supplement to your on-ice practice and will strengthen your legs so you can create power on the ice to skate faster.
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Adding a jump to the standard lunge exercise helps to build explosive power, which is what you need to really increase your skating speed. To do the exercise, stand in place and jump into the air with both feet leaving the ground. Land in a lunge position with one leg forward bent to 90 degrees and one behind with your thigh vertical and knee almost touching the floor. Jump back into the air from that position and reverse legs to land in a lunge on the opposite side. Continue alternating for as many reps as possible.
Barrier jumping is another leg strength builder that is performed with both legs at the same time. Set up five to 10 pylons or other small barriers about 1 1/2 feet apart. Stand in front of the first one, bend your knees and jump with both feet to clear the obstacle. Land with both feet as balanced as possible, and then continue over the next obstacle. Repeat the same motion until you’ve cleared every barrier.
Jumping on one leg builds a great deal of leg strength and enhances your overall balance and agility, which are all factors in your skating speed. To perform one-legged jumps, stand in place with both feet on the ground and bend one knee so you are standing on one leg. Bend the knee you’re standing on and jump straight up as high as you can. Land on the same leg and perform eight to 10 reps. Repeat the exercise using the other leg when you’re finished the set.
Sprinting up a hill benefits your skating in a couple of different ways. First, the explosive power of your legs increases. Second, you must lean over and drive forward with your legs to sprint up the hill, which mimics the posture you take while skating, to a certain degree. Perform your sets according to the length and slope of the hill you are climbing. Do five sets for a 10-yard hill, subtracting one set for each additional 10 yards, all the way down to one set for a 50-yard hill. Walk down the hill between sets as your rest period.