5 exercises to improve skating without ice

When you start playing hockey, almost anything you can do that is related to skating can improve your skills on the ice. A big issue for any hockey player is that ice time is either expensive, or hard to get, or both. So how can we improve skating, without actually skating?

In this article I’ve compiled a few videos that I believe will help players on the ice. Some require roller blades, while others can be done in the living room.

Start With Balance

Most players don’t realize how much single leg balance is required in skating. In fact during a game you will be required to balance on one foot hundreds of times. Every stride, crossover, and transition requires that we lift one leg and glide, rotate, or shift our weight while balancing on a thin piece of steel on the ice. For this reason I highly suggest improving single leg balance and strength at home.

Below I have embedded a great routine that was designed for Henrik Zetterberg. You can adapt some of these exercises (less weight or less height) to practice at home

Simulate the Stride

You might not be able to get the glide feeling in your living room, but you can still replicate the motion. This exercise is called the lateral bound or a skater hop. This can be a great hockey specific plyometric exercise.

Stability and Balance

In the first set of exercises with Zetterberg most of the weight was carefully balanced over a single leg. In hockey we are constantly being pushed, hooked and shoved around which requires stability and strength. This exercise incorporates a moving weight while balancing on one leg

If you’re interested in more drills like this I highly recommend The Program from Nike. You should also print this PDF from Nike to help you follow the program

Weight Shift

The hockey stride evolves as we skate. We start by pushing almost straight back, and as speed increases, the legs push out more to the side. We can simulate this with the 360 lunge, or as Kevin Neeld calls it, the lunge matrix!

Another great exercise from Kevin Neeld involves a lateral squat and a slideboard. If you don’t have a slideboard you may be able to perform this on a smooth surface and a fluffy sock under your foot, or the slideez.

For more from Kevin Neeld visit his website or Youtube Channel.

Feel the Glide

One feeling that we can’t get at home is the feeling of gliding. Luckily, you don’t need to be on the ice for this motion either. Training on roller blades is a great way to target specific hockey movements. In the video below I teach a progression for transitions in hockey. In the video I’m using the Marsblade roller frame.

I hope this collection of videos will help you improve your skating, without actually skating. Once you get on the ice you may be interested in my Fundamentals of skating series.

If you love hockey and want to get more hockey training in your life you can follow me on social media (links in my author bio below) you can also subscribe to our newsletter (box is in the right sidebar)


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Coach Jeremy
Hi my name is Jeremy Rupke. My goal is to break every hockey skill down into easy to understand articles and videos. I explain everything step-by-step to help others improve. I'm active on Instagram, Facebook and more, you can follow through the links above.
If you want to learn more about me you can read my about page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  1. Reply Paul January 29, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    The first video is missing – can you repost it, or fix the link?

  2. Reply Tara August 31, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I am currently on week 8 of the nike program. Hopefully I’ll see the results in one month at my first hockey tourney of the year!!!

    The matrix lunge looks insane!


    A woman who plays competitive beer league tourneys ????

  3. Reply Mangerz July 19, 2016 at 1:00 am

    tHX jeremy ;D

  4. Reply Steve Poynts July 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Thank you for the off ice exercises. Do you have any recommendations for contitioning your legs for skating after 40? I want to push myself but I am worried I am going to blow out a knee.


    Steve (Indianapolis, IN)

    • Reply Jason November 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

      I know this is an older post, but as an older skater very close to 40 with only 2 years of hockey experience, I can share what keeps me healthy and going.

      1. Heavy quad exercise at least once a week. No less than 3 days before I skate otherwise my legs will still be shaking. I blew out a miniscus 10 years ago. The PT and doctor told me if people had strong quads, they would not have knee problems. When you have small or weak muscles, the adjoining ligaments and tendons bear the brunt. The stronger my legs get, the less my knees ache.

      2. Supplement for your joints. I take a liquid glucosamine, and fish oil (for joints) with potassium & magnesium (prevents muscle cramps and twitches).

      3. Drink plenty of water. I typically drink 1-2 gallons a day. I am 5’6″ 160 lbs and only have 8-10% BF. I attribute the low body fat to the water.

      4. Stay active. On days I don’t lift, I do calesthenics or dryland training. I always move. This keeps me fresh and my muscles from cramping up.

      5. As an older “athlete” I cannot stress this enough…..eat right. You only spend “minutes” exercising or playing hockey a week (each day if you are lucky), but you spend hours a day eating. What you put in your body directly effects not only your physical appearance, but also your energy levels, & you ability to deal with stresses (mental and physical). What you put in your mouth, is really the only thing in life you have full control over. Why not do yourself this favor and make it something to make you live better and longer!

      My $0.02

  5. Reply Andrew July 7, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for these tips. I was looking for some off-ice exercises for stability and strength.

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