Hockey Strengthening Exercises to Try Before You Head Out on the Ice

Summit Orthopedics shares some top hockey strengthening exercises and tips for hockey players.


Hockey players often focus on building strength to support their game. However, developing flexibility through smart stretching is also a key fitness attribute that can help on the ice. Summit Orthopedics is here to help with some hockey strengthening exercises to try before your next game.

The first important question to ask is, when are you stretching? For the most part, sports medicine experts now recognize the potential harm in static stretching before performance. It decreases strength and power, and you may end up with an injury. Instead, start with some dynamic warm-ups before a workout, practice, or game, and save the stretching for afterward.

One active warm-up that can help temporarily increase range of motion is foam rolling. Research has shown that foam rolling for 10 to 15 seconds on areas of the body that are a little tight or stiff can help. As you do it, Think about strength-retraining movements that increase awareness of that sore or tight muscle.

Here are a few strengthening exercises that can benefit any hockey player:

Hockey strengthening exercise 1: Single leg bridge

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent; lift one foot off the floor so your hip and knee are bent to 90 degrees.
  • Engage your core and tighten the buttock.
  • Raise your hips up off the floor as high as you can.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10–15 times.

Hockey players are skating on one leg so often. This exercise can really help.

Hockey strengthening exercise 2: Side plank

  • Lie on your elbow on one side, tuck your bottom under, push through your elbow, and lift your hips off the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply.
  • As that becomes easy, add intensity by putting your top foot up on a small box.
  • The goal is to lift the bottom leg.

Because the skating motion results in overactive muscles on the outside of the hip and weakened muscles in the groin, hockey players can be at increased risk of hip labral tears or groin strains. This exercise can help guard against that.

Hockey strengthening exercise 3: Dead bug

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended straight over your chest.
  • Lift both feet off the floor to bend your hips and knees to 90 degrees in a tabletop position.
  • Engage your core, maintaining your low back “glued” to the mat.
  • Reach overhead with one arm, while the opposite leg extends.
  • Stop the movement just before your arm and leg touch the ground.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side.

This exercise is good because it uses reciprocal movement of the arm and leg, which forces the core to work harder and mimics skating.

Hockey strengthening exercise 4: Single leg deadlift

  • Stand on one foot; focus on your foot being balanced.
  • Reach back with the other leg with your toes pointed to the ground.
  • Keep your spine lengthened.
  • Perform 15 times on each side.

This exercise focuses on single-leg demand, breaking key hockey movements down to the basic movement of the body and training from that point up.

Summit Orthopedics supports healthy lifestyles

Start your journey to a healthier, more active self.  Find your orthopedic expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

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