Endurance and power on the ice is all about the legs. Here are some ways young hockey players can build strength in their legs--and hit the ground running next season.
Why Leg Strength is Important
The legs are the origin of force development, exerting force against the ground that is further transferred up and throughout the body for all movements. As well the trunk (abdominal-low back complex) has a tremendous importance in sport.
All forces transferred from ground up, so if the core is weak, force is reduced as it is transferred to upper torso. Hip and trunk rotation, core stabilization and dynamic balance are key aspects to optimal athletic performance.
- 3 sets x 10-12 repetitions (*warm-up sets)
- Rest 90-seconds between sets
- Tempo = 3 -- 0 -- 2
- Stretching must be done every day. Do NOT neglect this component.
Lie face down on leg curl bench with heel roller pad resting on back of ankles with the knees just off the bottom of the bench.
Slowly curl the legs towards the buttocks, keep the hips pressed into the bench and slowly lower to starting position. This exercise is also performed using one leg at a time.
Hold light dumbbells and step forward with a slightly exaggerated stride until the front thigh is parallel to the ground. Do not allow the knee to extend beyond the toes and keep the knee and foot in alignment.
The trailing knee should be 3-5 cm from floor. Keep the torso vertical and push off the lead leg to return to the starting position.
Perform a regular squat but stand with legs spread extremely wide apart in order to train the adductors (groin) to a greater extent.
Rest the barbell on the trapezius (NOT the neck). Position the feet and hips under bar, take it off the rack and take 2 steps back. Place the feet shoulder-width apart with the head up. Drop the hips and "sit back into a chair".
Start the movement at the hip joint, not the knees. Squat as deep as possible in this position by flexing at hip and sticking your butt out, and keep the low back tensed in a neutral position. Return to the starting position by extending at the hips and the knees.