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Improving acceleration

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Old
07-08-2010, 11:48 AM
  #1
ponder
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Improving acceleration

I have decent top speed, but not great acceleration, tough for me to blow by good skaters, and I also have trouble defending really good skaters in the neutral zone. Obviously this is partly genetic, and I don't have great acceleration on dry land sports either, but I feel I should be able to improve it somewhat. Anyone have good drills/exercises (on ice, or on land) to help improve acceleration/explosiveness? I've played around 15 seasons of organized hockey at a variety of levels (currently just in a beer league), so not really looking for beginner tips, more tips for an experienced skater to get to the next level. At the moment am just doing suicides on ice (occasionally), and squats in the gym.

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07-08-2010, 12:21 PM
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Your muscles in the thighs will have to be strong yet flexible and you want to make sure that you have proper technique http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDHP2id2REY (Or atleast what feels right to you) Another big tip would be to lower your center of gravity while skating, becoming more compact and bending at the knees to get a full "Spring" after you finish a stride.

Sometimes its not about being the fastest on the ice, if you can create space for yourself sometimes thats enough... But it sure as hell helps. It also helps to have deceptive skating... So lets say you have the puck and your gliding towards a opposing player you can start to skate hard at him and if he reacts, crossover and pull back. Making him move and abusing an opposing players lack of gap control can be just as effective. This becomes a lot more effective the better your explosive speed is cause it will cause defenders to have to react on instinct and if they don't react fast enough, you just continue your stride and move in on net.

Plyometric exercises/drills


Hip Abduction


Speed Skipping
(Taking a step and push off the back foot to get extra air)

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07-08-2010, 03:10 PM
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Happy Pony
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I used to think that hip abduction machine was for chicks. Then I tried it, I'll be damned if it didn't help my skating.

And yeah, it's not always about blowing around someone, it's just about creating space where you can make a play from. Can't beat a d-man? Slow it down a bit and use him as a screen, or try and make them make the first move, than you react.

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07-08-2010, 03:29 PM
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It might help to know a little bit more about you.

Are you a tall player? Short? Heavy? Light?

Would you describe your stride as short and chippy or long and powerful?

Usually when a player is talking about acceleration, he's talking about those first three steps he takes when starting off from a stationary position or transitioning from a stop.

As others have mentioned, strength and flexibility could be the issue if you are certain that your technique is good.

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07-09-2010, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noobman View Post
It might help to know a little bit more about you.

Are you a tall player? Short? Heavy? Light?

Would you describe your stride as short and chippy or long and powerful?

Usually when a player is talking about acceleration, he's talking about those first three steps he takes when starting off from a stationary position or transitioning from a stop.

As others have mentioned, strength and flexibility could be the issue if you are certain that your technique is good.
6', 185 lbs, 24 years old, in decent shape but definitely not ripped. And I'm referring to those first few strides from a stop, but also going from a decent speed to that "next gear."

And I actually already use the abductor/adductor machine, haven't thought about how it could improve my speed though, have been using it to just keep my abductors and adductors balanced and strong because I can get knee problems otherwise. Plyometrics and speed skipping are good calls though, will look into both for sure! Could also probably shed a few pounds to make the acceleration easier

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07-09-2010, 05:13 AM
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Giroux tha Damaja
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How are you doing your squats? Specifically, are you doing them very, very heavy (for you), in very low rep ranges? This is the most beneficial way to lift for explosive power. Single leg squats are great also. When you're skating your using one leg to explode at a time, and there are all kind of other muscles being called on that don't get used the same way in a regular squat. Dead lifts are pretty important too (most guys who do squats do deadlifts, just figured I'd say it just in case).

A lot of sprinters use isometric exercises to get their muscles to develop maximum power very early in the contraction (explosive power). So pretty much any exercise you would normally do, adapted to work isometrically will help your muscle develop a greater percentage of it's peak power right away. Of course working to increase your strength still helps.

Good luck.


Last edited by Giroux tha Damaja: 07-09-2010 at 05:25 AM.
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07-09-2010, 10:56 AM
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Whats your acceleration technique like? In my experience, some players keep the same acceleration technique as their long stride which I think is not ideal - especially in rec league players. Thus it takes them longer to reach their top speed, which may be pretty good, it just takes them awhile to get to that top speed.

When I was in my mid-late teens, my acceleration was average and I worked trying to improve it so I watched NHLers with good acceleration - at that time it was Bure, Mogilny (pre-NJ) - and really tried to break down their technique from a stationary or near stationary position.

I found that these two skaters especially widened their skate blade position to a wide V stance like 40-45 degrees in their first 2-5 strides (also shorter because your legs aren't meant to extend that long when twisted like that) then they transitioned to a more efficient, conventional longer stride.

Work on improving that, if you haven't already tried that - if you have, then improve your strength that works the leg muscles when using that acceleration stance/technique I described. Quads, glutes, core area, whatever other muscles are in that area - you'll never want to skate around like this all the time, you just use too much energy and you'll want to change your technique after the first 4-6 steps or when the acceleration isn't required to more efficient stride that doesn't use as much energy.

Hopefully this helps you, I went from being average acceleration to the best on my team shortly after - it takes a little while to get used to when you first try changing it, but will become second nature and you'll be winning races to loose pucks all the time. For long term acceleration in the longer stride, just improve your fitness and maybe watch a power skating video to see if your stride is long enough and includes the toe snap at the end of each stride.

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Old
07-11-2010, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I am The Mush View Post
How are you doing your squats? Specifically, are you doing them very, very heavy (for you), in very low rep ranges? This is the most beneficial way to lift for explosive power. Single leg squats are great also. When you're skating your using one leg to explode at a time, and there are all kind of other muscles being called on that don't get used the same way in a regular squat. Dead lifts are pretty important too (most guys who do squats do deadlifts, just figured I'd say it just in case).

A lot of sprinters use isometric exercises to get their muscles to develop maximum power very early in the contraction (explosive power). So pretty much any exercise you would normally do, adapted to work isometrically will help your muscle develop a greater percentage of it's peak power right away. Of course working to increase your strength still helps.

Good luck.
I generally do a warmup set with just the bar, another warmup set with moderate weight, then 3 work sets with as much weight as I can handle, 6 reps per set. I go pretty low on my squats too, so my upper quads are level with my knees at the bottom. I see a lot of guys just doing shallower squats, and you can certainly do more weight this way, but always figured it was bad form?

As for deadlifts, do them occasionally, but often too lazy as it's such a pain to get the weights on and off the bar (my gym doesn't have any sort of rack for the deadlift bar, it just sits on the ground). Should just man up and do them more often though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozolinsh_27 View Post
Whats your acceleration technique like? In my experience, some players keep the same acceleration technique as their long stride which I think is not ideal - especially in rec league players. Thus it takes them longer to reach their top speed, which may be pretty good, it just takes them awhile to get to that top speed.

When I was in my mid-late teens, my acceleration was average and I worked trying to improve it so I watched NHLers with good acceleration - at that time it was Bure, Mogilny (pre-NJ) - and really tried to break down their technique from a stationary or near stationary position.

I found that these two skaters especially widened their skate blade position to a wide V stance like 40-45 degrees in their first 2-5 strides (also shorter because your legs aren't meant to extend that long when twisted like that) then they transitioned to a more efficient, conventional longer stride.

Work on improving that, if you haven't already tried that - if you have, then improve your strength that works the leg muscles when using that acceleration stance/technique I described. Quads, glutes, core area, whatever other muscles are in that area - you'll never want to skate around like this all the time, you just use too much energy and you'll want to change your technique after the first 4-6 steps or when the acceleration isn't required to more efficient stride that doesn't use as much energy.

Hopefully this helps you, I went from being average acceleration to the best on my team shortly after - it takes a little while to get used to when you first try changing it, but will become second nature and you'll be winning races to loose pucks all the time. For long term acceleration in the longer stride, just improve your fitness and maybe watch a power skating video to see if your stride is long enough and includes the toe snap at the end of each stride.
Awesome, will definitely try to really focus on the v-shaped stride next time I go to stick and puck, see how it feels.

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07-11-2010, 10:45 PM
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Try a Powerskating class.
This is the one I took:
http://www.robbyglantz.com/

This guy (He actuly goes to some of the days) is the skating coach for a few NHL teams, and the instructors are great, and its affordable.

Might wana check if hes coming to a rink by you.

This is one of his videos:



Check this out too: Its a list of what NHL players he's coached, and some pictures of him with them
http://www.robbyglantz.com/whowevecoached.asp

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07-12-2010, 12:18 AM
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LyNX27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Pony View Post
I used to think that hip abduction machine was for chicks. Then I tried it, I'll be damned if it didn't help my skating.

And yeah, it's not always about blowing around someone, it's just about creating space where you can make a play from. Can't beat a d-man? Slow it down a bit and use him as a screen, or try and make them make the first move, than you react.
I have never seen my skating speed improve so dramatically as when I used the abduction machine as well. I get weird looks in the gym from people who think the same thing.

I'm starting to think that the OP had good basics but is just missing something from technique and it comes back to what his stride looks like and his take off. If your exercising as much as you say and your not carrying extra weight, it could be that your holding your stick with both hands while skating on a "Straight Away" and you causing a little extra movement and swinging or position of skates on take off...



Notice, its not how long their legs are, its the push off and getting that foot to do its normal cycle and get it back into position ready for the next push off as fast as possible, and notice also when Amonte is making the turn how chippy his skates become to keep speed around the turn.

I know your question is about the first 3 steps and like i said, the only think I can think of is technique, stance, technique on the push off, and how quickly you get your next leg in position for the next step.

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07-12-2010, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhXcoyotes View Post
Try a Powerskating class.
This is the one I took:
http://www.robbyglantz.com/

This guy (He actuly goes to some of the days) is the skating coach for a few NHL teams, and the instructors are great, and its affordable.

Might wana check if hes coming to a rink by you.

This is one of his videos:



Check this out too: Its a list of what NHL players he's coached, and some pictures of him with them
http://www.robbyglantz.com/whowevecoached.asp
Really key video, notice also how they keep a low center of gravity while skating.



Knees bent, upper body bent forward, stick kept low...

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07-12-2010, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponder View Post
I generally do a warmup set with just the bar, another warmup set with moderate weight, then 3 work sets with as much weight as I can handle, 6 reps per set. I go pretty low on my squats too, so my upper quads are level with my knees at the bottom. I see a lot of guys just doing shallower squats, and you can certainly do more weight this way, but always figured it was bad form?

As for deadlifts, do them occasionally, but often too lazy as it's such a pain to get the weights on and off the bar (my gym doesn't have any sort of rack for the deadlift bar, it just sits on the ground). Should just man up and do them more often though.
Shallow squats are something all trainers ***** about seeing people do. Ass-to-calves is great, sounds like that's exactly what you're doing. If I were you, I would look at possibly doing dead lifts with the same frequency and intensity as you're doing your squats. Nothing hits your ass muscles and whole posterior chain as hard as the deadlift (spare us the jokes everyone). And you're going to get more oomph everywhere in your stride, from beginning to end.

If you're interested, here is a decent article on how one coach improved explosive acceleration in his sprinters (who were already pretty fast, obviously) using primarily the deadlift. The good stuff doesn't show up till about halfway down the page.

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/269/

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07-12-2010, 09:35 AM
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Good thread everyone. I definitely have to try abductions.

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07-12-2010, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerRogerRoeper View Post
Good thread everyone. I definitely have to try abductions.
At first it might be awkward and hard, the reason being is that many people do not properly exercise the surrounding muscles and generally the support muscles are weak and not flexible (Hockey players might have less of this problem)

So you should start at something small like 50/70 pounds and do about 20 abductions. I have been doing it for a while and I start at 20 @ 80lbs, rest, 20 @ 85lbs, rest, 20 @ 90lbs. By this time you should be gassed and when you walk off the machine your upper legs will feel funny and you will FEEL as if you are walking bowl-legged.

Do not copy my routine, everyone is different and should have their own routine for their body and their weight. See what works for you.

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07-12-2010, 06:32 PM
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Thanks. I've worked out for a long time and for a second I thought I'd have some kind of aversion to abductions. But I hopped on no sweat and got a good soreness going right now. Who cares if the high school kids think I'm gay.

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07-12-2010, 10:16 PM
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As for the abbduction machine, it's great if it works for you and has helped your game. But personally it hasn’t done anything for me. The first time I went on it, I did 20 reps of 200 pounds with good form and I had the part where you put your legs as far apart as it could go.

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07-12-2010, 10:31 PM
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Well don't brag or anything.

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07-12-2010, 11:44 PM
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The Glantz class is really helpful. I took it once and it helped me out a lot. I want to take it again

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07-13-2010, 07:29 AM
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Which way is best to do hip abductions for hockey. Should I be pushing my thighs in, or away

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07-13-2010, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anisimov View Post
As for the abbduction machine, it's great if it works for you and has helped your game. But personally it hasn’t done anything for me. The first time I went on it, I did 20 reps of 200 pounds with good form and I had the part where you put your legs as far apart as it could go.
If this truly is the case why are you working on your legs if you can already do the splits and crush iron with your thighs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedWrister View Post
Which way is best to do hip abductions for hockey. Should I be pushing my thighs in, or away
TBH the only one I do is where I push in, it targets the same muscle that I feel strain on when I do hard intensive skating.

Abduction you will feel more in your butt, Adduction will burn more near the inner thigh's and groin, and they are both important.

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07-15-2010, 11:38 AM
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Plyometrics and speed lifts are a good idea, but your power and speed will only improve as much as your strength does.

Basically, you have 3 ways of producing muscle tension:

Dynamic effort (submaximal resistance as fast as possible), repetition method (bodybuilding method) and maximal effort method (pure strength).

For strength: Squats, deadlifts and good mornings. What's a good weight to reach for? 400lbs squat and 450lbs deadlift if you're not a high level player. 600lbs squat if you are.

Good repetition exercises: Glute ham raises (essential), reverse hypers, gymnastic type mouvements for abs, weighted sit ups on back raise machine (weight BEHIND the head), good mornings, side bends, back raises.

Speed: sprints, long jumps, box jumps, box squats. Feet drills are a good idea.

You will become more explosive and faster doing this.

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07-15-2010, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty hates Sergei View Post
Plyometrics and speed lifts are a good idea, but your power and speed will only improve as much as your strength does.

Basically, you have 3 ways of producing muscle tension:

Dynamic effort (submaximal resistance as fast as possible), repetition method (bodybuilding method) and maximal effort method (pure strength).

For strength: Squats, deadlifts and good mornings. What's a good weight to reach for? 400lbs squat and 450lbs deadlift if you're not a high level player. 600lbs squat if you are.

Good repetition exercises: Glute ham raises (essential), reverse hypers, gymnastic type mouvements for abs, weighted sit ups on back raise machine (weight BEHIND the head), good mornings, side bends, back raises.

Speed: sprints, long jumps, box jumps, box squats. Feet drills are a good idea.

You will become more explosive and faster doing this.
When you say 400lb to 600lb squat, do you mean in a set consisting of 1-2 reps?

I'm doing the basic 3x10 sets of everything right now, and will switch to 5x5 when I feel that I have a stronger base established.


I've never really played with the idea of 1-2 rep sets (I have done 3x3 before) because I have some ligament and cartilage damage that I don't want to put undue stress upon.

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07-15-2010, 12:30 PM
  #23
WickedWrister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty hates Sergei View Post
Plyometrics and speed lifts are a good idea, but your power and speed will only improve as much as your strength does.

Basically, you have 3 ways of producing muscle tension:

Dynamic effort (submaximal resistance as fast as possible), repetition method (bodybuilding method) and maximal effort method (pure strength).

For strength: Squats, deadlifts and good mornings. What's a good weight to reach for? 400lbs squat and 450lbs deadlift if you're not a high level player. 600lbs squat if you are.

Good repetition exercises: Glute ham raises (essential), reverse hypers, gymnastic type mouvements for abs, weighted sit ups on back raise machine (weight BEHIND the head), good mornings, side bends, back raises.

Speed: sprints, long jumps, box jumps, box squats. Feet drills are a good idea.

You will become more explosive and faster doing this.

600 lb squat my ass. Unless you're some workout freak, 600 lb squat is incredibly unrealistic. 400 is extremely realistic.

My advice (and others will tell you the same). Try squatting you're own body weight.

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07-15-2010, 08:38 PM
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Little Nilan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedWrister View Post
600 lb squat my ass. Unless you're some workout freak, 600 lb squat is incredibly unrealistic. 400 is extremely realistic.

My advice (and others will tell you the same). Try squatting you're own body weight.
Yeah man, high level player as in a pro, for 1rm obviously.

lol @ squatting your own body weight (which is what, a ridiculous 220lbs for the bigger guys? 150-180 for most here?). Ridiculously low standards that will do nothing for your performance. Just use that time to do something productive instead, don't waste your time. A hockey players leg routine isn't that different from a sprinters, so strength/maximal effort work is essential. If that means a BW squat for you, then you better start shooting for 2x BW soon.

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07-15-2010, 10:17 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedWrister View Post
600 lb squat my ass. Unless you're some workout freak, 600 lb squat is incredibly unrealistic. 400 is extremely realistic.

My advice (and others will tell you the same). Try squatting you're own body weight.
Methinks it depends on the player.

600lb doesn't seem crazy for a very big, very strong hockey player, but I highly doubt that it's the norm. It's a great feat for sure, but I don't think it's really necessary. I recall reading somewhere that Marian Gaborik, who stands at 6'1 and tips the scale at about 190ish, can squat 500lb... and that's considered exceptional at his weight, but below average by Scotty's standards.

And even so... the ability to squat 500lb doesn't make Marian Gaborik a fantastic skater... it simply enables him to be a fantastic skater. Hockey training at the high level has moved away from the bodybuilding type training. Some people mistake this for no weightlifting at all... which is foolish. You will hurt yourself pretty badly doing plyometrics if you're not already very strong to begin with. You get strong by lifting heavy weights.

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