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Strengthening your weaker side

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Old
01-14-2009, 04:56 PM
  #1
All_blueandwhite
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Strengthening your weaker side

I love hockey, but I never played when i was little, and the only time i ever skated was when id go on field trips or something.

Over the past couple year or so, I've made an effort to learn to skate as well as possible. I've worked on it, and now i'm decent. I can compete in races with my friends who actually play hockey, i can stop well and all that. THe only thing i have trouble with is when I'm forced to stop using my left foot or something along those lines. I used my right foot most of of the time for stopping just so i could get the hang of it, but now it's much more dominate then my left, and i know to be a good skater both should be of equal strength.

So my question is, what techniques/exercises can i do to help improve my weaker left side?

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01-14-2009, 06:07 PM
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cptjeff
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Force yourself to stop on that side. As with anything skating, practice is the only way to do it.

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01-14-2009, 06:13 PM
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nullterm
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Repetition. Keeping practicing it till you got it down. You'll improve your strength and technique.

I'm the same with cross-overs. To the left, no problem. To the right, still needs work.

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01-14-2009, 09:35 PM
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DevilsFan38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nullterm View Post
Repetition. Keeping practicing it till you got it down. You'll improve your strength and technique.

I'm the same with cross-overs. To the left, no problem. To the right, still needs work.
Me too. I call it PSS (Public Skating Syndrome). All the rinks by me only skate counterclockwise, and that's when I learned to skate.

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01-15-2009, 12:59 AM
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nullterm
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Originally Posted by DevilsFan38 View Post
Me too. I call it PSS (Public Skating Syndrome). All the rinks by me only skate counterclockwise, and that's when I learned to skate.
Hahhaa. Yeah, I know what you mean. Most public skates here they blow a horn every 20/30 minutes and then everyone has to skate in the other direction. All the tourists and new skaters are all, "Wait... what's happening?"

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01-15-2009, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by nullterm View Post
Hahhaa. Yeah, I know what you mean. Most public skates here they blow a horn every 20/30 minutes and then everyone has to skate in the other direction. All the tourists and new skaters are all, "Wait... what's happening?"
I wish they would do that more. Some places do it only if you ask and everywhere they always starts off counterclockwise.

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01-15-2009, 09:53 AM
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cptjeff
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Sometimes at the Greensboro NC rink they'll start people going the other direction after they zam the ice in the middle of the session.

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01-15-2009, 10:06 AM
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EmptyNetter
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IMO there's plenty you can do off ice to strengthen your left side. First of all, just doing squat exercises will strengthen both legs. Actually you'll see better results on your left side because, being the weaker side, the muscle will be challenged more to support the same amount of weight. Important note: keep your shoulders back and your weight over your heels. If you're on the balls of your feet you'll put too much strain on your knees. Feel the burn in your quadriceps (thigh muscles).

When this is no longer a challenge try doing a squat with your right leg off the ground. Not only will your left side be supporting twice the amount of weight (as it did in the standard squat) but you'll also need to use those core muscles to balance. Again, keep your weight back on your heels and only go down far enough that you can still get back up.

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01-15-2009, 10:36 AM
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Actually, one I like for strengthening legs is to jump from leg to leg side to side- Basically, you use one leg to go deep and push off, land on the other leg, go as deep as you can, push off to land on the other leg. It's pretty close to a skating stride, building up the correct muscles, and you're putting your full weight on each leg. And if you need to add resistance, hold something heavy.

It also has a pretty nice aerobic component. But it's similar to slide board training in theory.

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01-15-2009, 10:40 AM
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my son was the same, he drastically improved his right side when we began spending parts of practice time playing with the opposite hand stck, forces you to concentrate on weak side to balace play with the puck chase and engage, try it you'll be surprised. I wish it was my idea I saw it at a hockey camp a few years ago.

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01-15-2009, 11:47 AM
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Gino 14
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This is all about forcing yourself to do something that doesn't feel natural to your body and almost nothing to do with strength training. You need to force yourself in drills and practice to stop with your weak side (actually, this side isn't really weaker, it's just not as highly trained). Find start/stop drills going from one end of the ice to the other and do them facing one side and then the same drill facing the opposite side so both sides get work. A drill I love to hate is what I call the two dot drill. Start at any faceoff dot and then skate up two dots and stop at that dot (you can go either direction and you want to go in a big circle around the rink). Now, skate back one dot and stop at that dot. Continue this until you've gone around once and then reverse directions but still facing the center of the rink when you stop. If you always stop facing the center of the rink, this forces you to both stop and start going both ways equally.

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01-15-2009, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gino 14 View Post
This is all about forcing yourself to do something that doesn't feel natural to your body
I agree

Quote:
and almost nothing to do with strength training.
Disagree

If he's used the muscles more consistently on the right side of the body they'll be stronger than those on the left side, wouldn't you say? I've noticed that I fatigue quicker when stopping on my left side than when stopping on my right. My core muscles tend to cramp up when skating clockwise around the rink rather than counterclockwise. If his left side is not sufficiently strong enough to counter his skating momentum it will be difficult for him to stop on that side, especially after consecutive practice runs.

Can he stop on his left side without strength training? Sure. Will strength training help? You betcha.

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01-15-2009, 01:25 PM
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I agree with the last statement.
I'm very strong with my right side and crap on my left. Public skate sessions over here all go counter-clockwise. i practice crossovers still and can do it both ways whilst going forward to help. just laterally moving whilst i skate up the boards before heading into a corner. if that makes sense.
also i find slowly gliding on my left leg (holding right skate off the ice in front of your left foot slightly) and trying to move left and right helps strengthen the muscles used for skating, turning and stopping.

Strength work will help for sure. Lunges will even help this as it will strengthen both legs to equal ability.

Practice will always make perfect. Do double the practice on your weaker side whilst skating as you would on your natural/stronger side. it will eventually even you right out.

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01-15-2009, 02:47 PM
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I just do the zoolander. If I gotta stop with my left foot, I just stop with my right and do a spin at the end. I'm awesome, its okay to be jealous.

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01-15-2009, 02:50 PM
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Practice is most important, then off ice strength training and focus on specific areas. I also have the same issue with turning/crossing over to the right. Counter clockwise all the time at public skates is very frustrating...


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01-15-2009, 02:59 PM
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All_blueandwhite
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Thanks a lot to everyone who replied. Gonna give some of these suggestions a try.

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01-15-2009, 06:50 PM
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Gino 14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post


Disagree

If he's used the muscles more consistently on the right side of the body they'll be stronger than those on the left side, wouldn't you say? I've noticed that I fatigue quicker when stopping on my left side than when stopping on my right. My core muscles tend to cramp up when skating clockwise around the rink rather than counterclockwise. If his left side is not sufficiently strong enough to counter his skating momentum it will be difficult for him to stop on that side, especially after consecutive practice runs.

Can he stop on his left side without strength training? Sure. Will strength training help? You betcha.
Let's look at it, like you say. If you can't skate both directions with at least some equally, do you really think it's a matter of strength? Can you skate in a straight line, or do you always pull to one side and have to correct? If you can't skate in a straight line, that's due to one side pushing more than the other. If you can't skate both directions around the rink, that's a training issue since you know both legs are capable of the same work. It's the same with stopping. You can do all the strength training you want, if you don't force yourself to stop on your non-dominant side, you'll never learn to stop that way. Stopping is technique.

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01-16-2009, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Gino 14 View Post
Let's look at it, like you say. If you can't skate both directions with at least some equally, do you really think it's a matter of strength? Can you skate in a straight line, or do you always pull to one side and have to correct? If you can't skate in a straight line, that's due to one side pushing more than the other. If you can't skate both directions around the rink, that's a training issue since you know both legs are capable of the same work. It's the same with stopping. You can do all the strength training you want, if you don't force yourself to stop on your non-dominant side, you'll never learn to stop that way. Stopping is technique.
Okay, now let's look at it like you say. The OP already knows how to stop on his right side and can stop on his left but not as well. His brain already knows the technique for stopping but his right side is better at it than his left. What are the possible causes?

1. Not enough muscle memory on his left side so it doesn't come naturally.
2. Muscles are weaker on the left side than on the right.

Both are valid theories and it may even be a case of both being right. If the OP is going to create muscle memory on his left side to match his right he'll need to practice stopping repeatedly on his left side. Which will fatigue the muscles on his left side. And he can prepare those muscles for practice with. . . strength training.

Besides, if he can only get to the rink one or two times per week to practice hockey stops but he can work out 4x per week doing dry land exercises he'll probably get the best results from doing a combination of the two. Lastly, the stronger he is on the side that's stopping the better he'll stop after skating at top speed, providing he uses proper technique.

Agreed?

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01-16-2009, 11:39 AM
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Gino 14
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Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post
Okay, now let's look at it like you say. The OP already knows how to stop on his right side and can stop on his left but not as well. His brain already knows the technique for stopping but his right side is better at it than his left. What are the possible causes?

1. Not enough muscle memory on his left side so it doesn't come naturally.
2. Muscles are weaker on the left side than on the right.

Both are valid theories and it may even be a case of both being right. If the OP is going to create muscle memory on his left side to match his right he'll need to practice stopping repeatedly on his left side. Which will fatigue the muscles on his left side. And he can prepare those muscles for practice with. . . strength training.

Besides, if he can only get to the rink one or two times per week to practice hockey stops but he can work out 4x per week doing dry land exercises he'll probably get the best results from doing a combination of the two. Lastly, the stronger he is on the side that's stopping the better he'll stop after skating at top speed, providing he uses proper technique.

Agreed?
You can teach a 7 year old to stop equally well on both sides and they don't require any special strength training, rather just someone to work with them and to make sure they train both sides.

Weight training will help with overall conditioning but will do nothing for him if he doesn't make himself repeatedly practice stopping on his off side. Once the skill is attained, the weight training will aid him in stopping quicker, but that's about it. It's the same thing with powerskating, it's all about technique and teaching your body to skate the right way.

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01-16-2009, 12:31 PM
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EmptyNetter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gino 14 View Post
You can teach a 7 year old to stop equally well on both sides and they don't require any special strength training, rather just someone to work with them and to make sure they train both sides.
I'll take your word for it, but at 7 years old I wouldn't think there's as pronounced a difference between right and left side strength as there is in an adult. Besides, I never said that anyone requires special strength training to learn to stop. I'm saying that it will help.

Quote:
Weight training will help with overall conditioning but will do nothing for him if he doesn't make himself repeatedly practice stopping on his off side. Once the skill is attained, the weight training will aid him in stopping quicker, but that's about it. It's the same thing with powerskating, it's all about technique and teaching your body to skate the right way.
Strength training alone is not going to make him able to stop but it's a good complement to his practice. Added strength and flexibility in his back and his ankles will make it easier for him to find balance points and even you have agreed that there's an advantage in having added leg strength. Unless we start corroborating our claims with physiological studies I don't see the debate ending anytime soon.

Agree to disagree?


Last edited by EmptyNetter: 01-16-2009 at 12:50 PM.
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01-16-2009, 02:51 PM
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Gino 14
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The original question still asked:

Quote:
So my question is, what techniques/exercises can i do to help improve my weaker left side?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post
I'll take your word for it, but at 7 years old I wouldn't think there's as pronounced a difference between right and left side strength as there is in an adult. Besides, I never said that anyone requires special strength training to learn to stop. I'm saying that it will help.



Strength training alone is not going to make him able to stop but it's a good complement to his practice. Added strength and flexibility in his back and his ankles will make it easier for him to find balance points and even you have agreed that there's an advantage in having added leg strength. Unless we start corroborating our claims with physiological studies I don't see the debate ending anytime soon.

Agree to disagree?
I answered the question with examples and specifics, you threw out vague generalizations. If weight training is so key, surely there must be some exercises you know of that will isolate and work his weak side to give him that edge. Just list them out.

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01-16-2009, 03:15 PM
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Stopping has nothing to do with strength training. I don't think that leg strength even applies to stopping distance. If anything it'd be core muscles.
Same with comfort level for crosscuts - UNLESS you're that unbalanced in strength levels that you have one side significantly stronger than the other. Then you'd need to even things out.


It's all muscle memory. I've skated for I don't know how long, 15+ years? Most of it was spent in training for figure skating - and even still I'll feel slightly less comfortable doing crosscuts clockwise. I think it's more just a natural rotation type thing. Everyone seems to have a way that they'd prefer to turn for whatever reason (I've never actually looked into the way, just know that it happens).

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01-16-2009, 03:23 PM
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I found it took a while for me to develop the necessary ankle "strength" that came with getting as much ice time as I could.

My lower legs were sore/tired starting out because they weren't used to having to provide that much lateral support balancing on an edge. Every new skater goes through it, that's why their blades angled outwards with their ankles on the ice.

/ \

Now it's not even an issue for me. Muscle memory means my ankles know what todo. And they are strong enough todo it for long periods of time and during intense moments like jump starts and stopping.

| |

Just comes down to ice time, the more you skate, they better you'll be.

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01-16-2009, 03:46 PM
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I posted this originally. Not enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmptyNetter View Post
IMO there's plenty you can do off ice to strengthen your left side. First of all, just doing squat exercises will strengthen both legs. Actually you'll see better results on your left side because, being the weaker side, the muscle will be challenged more to support the same amount of weight. Important note: keep your shoulders back and your weight over your heels. If you're on the balls of your feet you'll put too much strain on your knees. Feel the burn in your quadriceps (thigh muscles).

When this is no longer a challenge try doing a squat with your right leg off the ground. Not only will your left side be supporting twice the amount of weight (as it did in the standard squat) but you'll also need to use those core muscles to balance. Again, keep your weight back on your heels and only go down far enough that you can still get back up.

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01-16-2009, 05:26 PM
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Practice, practice, practice.

I've been working at strengthening my weak side for a long time, and I still struggle with certain things.

My backwards crossovers on the weak side need some work, and I can't pivot from forward to backwards in both directions unless I'm turning (although I can go backwards to forwards either way).

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