How to Skate Faster: 3 Proven Exercises to Help You Increase Skating Speed

Ben Levesquehockey training4 Comments

how to skate faster

Want to know how to skate faster?

Reality check.

It’s not about taking hundreds of skating lessons…

…or reviewing videos of your stride every night before bed that’s going to help you increase skating speed.

While those things may help, there’s arguably a diminishing return on your time invested.

DOWNLOAD 5+ Exercises for Building Breakaway Speed (PDF)

In other words, once you’ve got the basics down pat and are fairly comfortable on your skates, further improvement of your skating technique won’t lead to much more success.

Don’t get me wrong—proper skating technique is essential, but past a certain point it won’t give you much more of an edge.

If you want to learn how to skate faster and improve your skating speed, you have to realize that increasing your leg strength & power is what will get you there.

Whether you’re playing for fun, trying to make it PRO, or just want to improve your speed to keep up to the younger guys you play against, the 3 exercises I share in this post (plus the others in this guide) are the perfect starting point to do just that.

Throw them into your gym routine in order to start seeing quick improvements to your skating speed.

Let’s get started!

1. Skating Lunges

If I had to choose only one exercise to work on my skating speed, it would be the skating lunge. You can perform these with a barbell, dumbbells or even kettle bells.

Start with feet shoulder width apart. Step out to the right and shift your entire body weight over your right leg, forming a 90 degree angle at the knee, while keeping your head, torso and toes facing forward (below).

skating lunge to increase skating speed

Sit down with your butt and keep your back upright as much as possible. Then, push off with your right leg and bring it back to center to complete one rep. Repeat the same movement on the left side, by stepping out with your left leg this time (below).

how to improve skating speed

Recommended Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 6 repetitions per leg with challenging weight

2. Elevated Split Squats

This exercise works mainly your quads, with secondary involvement of your glutes & hamstrings. Again, this exercise can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells or kettle bells.

To perform elevated split-squats, you’ll need a box or regulation size gym bench to rest your back foot on. To start, position yourself in a staggered stance with your back foot on the bench and your front foot forward.

elevated split squats for hockey

Start descending by flexing your front knee and hip to lower your body down, again until you form a 90 degree angle at the knee (the picture below was taken early, so be sure to hit that 90 degree mark!).

elevated splitsquat

Then, push off with your front foot and return to the starting position (first picture).

Recommended Sets/Reps: 4 sets of 8 repetitions per leg with challenging weight

3. Crossover Step-Ups

This one is specifically good for hockey players, targeting the glutes and helping with hip adduction, abduction and rotation.

You’ll need a box or bench next to you (at about knee height), as well as a barbell, dumbbells or kettle bells. To start, stand sideways to the platform. Then, lift your foot which is farthest from the box and cross it in front of your other leg onto the box , while keeping your torso and hips facing forward (below).

crossover step-up

Then, simply center your body weight on your elevated foot and complete the step up (below).

cross over for increasing skating speed

Lower yourself off the box in the same manner. This completes one repetition. For this exercise, you’ll want to do all the repetitions on one leg instead of alternating sides each repetition.

Recommended Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 6 repetitions per leg with challenging weight

Choosing your weight

When it comes to choosing your weight for these exercises, don’t rack your brain over it.

Start with something you’re comfortable with so that you can learn proper technique (even if it means using just the bar or light dumbbells).

Once you feel ready, then you can add weight.

You should choose a weight which makes the recommended rep range challenging.

For example, for the crossover step-ups, you’re going to want to choose a weight so that your 6th rep is challenging, and completing another rep or two would be hard or even impossible.

To summarize and keep things simple:

  • When it gets easy to complete the recommended sets/reps with proper form, increase the weight.
  • If you can’t hit the recommended sets/reps, consider dropping the weight.

Leave your ego at the door and focus on controlled movement for maximum impact.

Conclusion

There you have it.

If you’ve ever wondered how to skate faster, it boils down to two things—technique and power.

Technique will only get you so far.

After that, it’s up to you to spend time in the gym in order to increase your leg power.

The 3 exercises I share in this post are the perfect start on your quest to improving your speed.

They’ll help you:

  • Improve your stability & balance so that you’re stronger on the puck during battles
  • Improve your acceleration so that your first 3 steps are explosive, allowing you to get to pucks first
  • Improve your overall speed so that you can create scoring opportunities for yourself and get back in time to defend when your team needs you most

Want more hockey-specific exercises to improve your speed even more? Download your free bonus below:

DOWNLOAD 5+ Exercises for Building Breakaway Speed (PDF)

About the author

Ben Levesque

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Ben has been playing hockey for 20+ years and has learned a ton from playing with the world’s best coaches & players. Among his accomplishments are a National Championship, a President’s Cup, a Semi-Final finish at the Memorial Cup, several Queen’s Cups and a helmet in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

4 Comments on “How to Skate Faster: 3 Proven Exercises to Help You Increase Skating Speed”

  1. Chris

    Hi Ben
    Love the information you provide…thanks for doing it!
    My question is about the 5 exercises for breakaway speed. At what age can/should you start these? I have a 9 year old and he is serious about hockey. I was thinking that he could do the 5 exercises but with no resistance (bar, kettle bells etc). Would that be the best way to go about it for this age?

    1. Ben Levesque

      Hey Chris, glad you enjoy the website 🙂 You hit the nail right on the head—stick to bodyweight or minor resistance for now. Plyometric exercises are great at a young age. Then, at 13-14 you can start to add a bit of weight as long as technique is good. That’s my opinion anyways! Hope that helps.

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