At the beginning of the summer we started the slapshot challenge. Over 250 people signed up to find out how to improve their slapshot. So far we have published articles on how to improve slapshot power, where slapshot power comes from, how to improve slapshot accuracy and a few slapshot tips to help fix common mistakes made when learning how to take a slapshot. We have gotten a lot of great feedback from everyone who has entered, and for the final chapter of the slapshot challenge we are sharing some workouts that will help you improve your power.
Remember – In order to get the most power from your shot you NEED to have proper form and technique. Just from practicing with this radar gun and tweaking my shot, I was able to improve my power by 20 MPH, that is with no workouts. So please work on your shot first (radar gun recommended if you are serious about it) and then move on to the workouts
Update Oct 2013 – I spent the summer following the HockeyOT workout and one day decided to test my slapshot again with the radar gun. I was maxing out at about 75MPH before, but this time my first few shots were around 75MPH. I decided to put a little more effort into my shots and soon broke the 80MPH range, later on the ice I broke 83MPH standing still ( I was teaching kids so I didn’t want to skate in and blast the puck). I took some time off at the gym and later tested my shot again and it was down again below the 80MPH mark so I think the training at the gym with the HockeyOT program really helped me.
If you want a custom workout program specifically designed for hockey players you can become a member here, email me if you have any questions.
Where Slapshot Power Comes From
Before diving into the workouts I would like to educate the readers. Before just going and working out, it is important to understand what muscles are being used, and where the power comes from. For more information you can read our article where slapshot power comes from, and I will summarize below.
- Your Legs – This is the first place you get power from, push off with your back leg to get your body moving and begin to transfer weight
- Your Arms – Your arms play a big role in the power of your shot. You need to develop explosive power from your arms and shoulders, but also learn proper technique, and train them to work together
- Shoulders – Some players use all arms when they swing, you can get a lot more power by driving into the shot and utilizing your shoulders
- Core Muscles – By rotating your upper body while you shoot you are adding more torque and power, which will increase the speed of your shot. Strengthening your core muscles will help a lot of aspects of your game, including shot power.
- Hockey Stick – The hockey stick (especially in the slapshot) will add a lot of power to your shot. Proper technique will allow you to utilize your stick and get the most power from it. Make sure your stick is the proper flex, you should be able to fully flex the stick.
Workouts to improve your slapshot and wrist shot
Just to be clear, I am not a fitness expert or personal trainer, but I am passionate about hockey and helping others. I have found a number of workouts that I think will really help you improve your shot. Some of them I have created, but most are from strength and conditioning coaches. All workouts that are not mine will be credited to where I found them. A lot of these workouts are from the book conditioning for ice hockey which I definitely recommend for anybody who plays hockey. If you want to grab a copy you can pick it up for under $20 on this page on amazon.
These workouts will train your arms and legs, build the muscles involved in the downswing and help link your arms and teach them to drive together. A few of them also incorporate the legs and help build the motion of stepping into the shot and transferring energy.
Resistance bands, or Slastix are a great way to add resistance to almost any motion you can think of. By using a resistance band you can target the exact muscles used in a certain motion, and then add some extra resistance to build those muscles. The are a lot of different workouts that you can do with resistance bands, but I thought I would just mention one of my favourites here. I like the Slastix more than the resistance bands because they give you a better workout. I found the best price for the Slastix was on Amazon, you can buy a Slastix here
Push Pull with Rotation
This workout helps develop rotary power that is vital in hockey shooting.
Execution: For this workout you will need two Slastix bands, or other resistance bands. One band will be attached to a solid object in front of you, and the other will be attached to an object behind you. This will allows you to pull on one, while pushing on the other.
- Start in a “split stance” similar to how you would stand before taking a slapshot.
- Keep the elbow of your pushing hand up, almost at the same height of your armpit, and bring the elbow of your pulling arm close to your body
- Start by pulling and pushing while you rotate your hips, and pivot on your back foot
- For the full exercise you will be pulling back with one hand, while pushing out with the other.
- Remember to rotate your hips and pivot on the back foot
Purpose: This workout will help build a lot of the muscles involved in the slapshot and wrist shot. You can see the legs, arm, and core muscles are all being activated, as well as putting an emphasis on leg drive.
Credit: Complete Conditioning for Hockey
Wood chops are a great work out for hockey players because they help develop rotary strength which is important for any hockey player. To perform the wood chops you will need Slastix or resistance bands, I prefer the Slastix for the best resistance.
Execution: Attach the Slastix tube to something heavy (something that won’t move). Start in the “ready” position with your knees bent and feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Hold the Slastix in both hands at about a 45 degree angle to the anchor point.
- Start by moving your weight toward the anchor point and bend your knees, you do this to load up your back leg.
- Now with your legs loaded, start moving from your core while pushing with your back leg
- Pull the Slastix away from the anchor point and across your body while pushing up with your legs
- When you have completed the motion, hold for a few seconds and then slowly return to the starting point and repeat.
Purpose: This is another workout that targets the core muscles, legs, and arms and teaches the importance of using your core, and legs with your arms to generate power.
Credit: Complete Conditioning for Hockey
Workout shown in video at the bottom of this article
Sled pulls are a great way to build every muscle involved in shooting, as long as they are done properly. To perform a sled pull all you need is a few weight plates, a mat of some sort, and a strap with a handle to pull the weights and mat. For a cheap method you can do the same thing with a tire, just put a chain around a tire, attach the straps and you are ready to go.
Execution: Stand in a shooting position, with your knees slightly bent, and legs at least shoulder width apart. Gripping the handle (or handles) with both hands, reach back as if you are going to do a full wrist shot. Step forward like you would when taking a slapshot, then pull with both arms, push off with your back leg, and rotate with your core muscles.
Purpose: You can tell from the way the workout is executed that you are doing a sport specific workout that will target almost every muscle involved in shooting. This workout will teach your legs, arms, and core muscles to all work together to generate the most amount of power.
Source: Kris Beech conditioning video, linked to specific workout above. Watch the full video for more workout ideas.
Weight Plate Stickhandling
In this workout a 10 or 25 pound plate is put on a slideboard or hockey shooting pad. Turn a hockey stick upside down and put the butt end in the center of the weight. With your knees slightly bent, move the plate left and right as far outside your body as possible. Another workout is to move the plate slowly in a figure 8 pattern.
Purpose: To build your abdominal, hip, low-back rotation strength and teach the body to shift weight for shooting and stickhandling.
Credit: Complete conditioning for hockey
Workout shown in video below
Medicine ball double rotation pass
This workout will work the core muscles, and rotary plyometric action for wrist shots, slapshots and tight turns.
Execution: This workout is best done with a partner, but you can also throw the ball against a wall. You need a medicine ball, these balls come in different weights so pick one that will give you a workout. Take four strides away from your partner and start in the ready position and stand as if you and you partner are both on a line (right shoulder pointing at their left, or other way around)
- Your partner will start by throwing you the medicine ball
- Catch the medicine ball and bring it across your body, while lowering it to your back knee
- Rotate back across your body as if you are going to throw the ball back to your partner, stop, and bring the ball back to your back knee
- Now rotate back and give a powerful throw to your partner
Purpose: This workout builds your core muscles, and rotary strength. This workout will help you put more power and torque into your slapshot and wrist shot by teaching your arms and core muscles to work together to generate power.
Credit: Complete conditioning for hockey
Hockey Shooting Workout Video
In this video I show you how to do a few of the workouts described above, keep in mind I am not an expert, so my form might be a little off, but I found that these workouts have helped me improve my power so I thought I would pass them on.
Recommended Products for improving your shot in Hockey
My biggest recommendation to improve your shooting is to go out and shoot a few hundred pucks every day or so. Shooting is the best way to activate your muscles, build your muscles, and train your muscles. The most important thing for a good shot in hockey is proper form, with good form comes good accuracy and power. If you want a step up, and to really improve your power, here are a few products I really recommend
Complete Conditioning for Hockey
This book is a must have for any hockey player. When I was younger I read Complete Conditioning for Ice Hockey and it taught me a lot about working out, nutrition and how to be a better hockey player. There is a newer version called Conditioning for hockey, eac version has a tonne of workouts that are made just for hockey players. If you want a copy you can buy it dirt cheap here. The books are a bit different, so if you have the time you could pick up both copies.
A Medicine Ball
Medicine balls are a good way to add weight to your workouts, they are easy to use and good for building explosive power. Medicine balls are also great for building core muscles. There are quite a few hockey workouts that require a medicine ball, you can pick them up at most fitness stores, but if you want to order one online you can find them here. Also the book I recommended above has a bunch of workouts where you can use a medicine ball.
Slastix For Hockey
Resistance bands are great for targeting specific muscles and motions. For example instead of holding a hockey stick, you can rig up a resistance band and perform the same action. This will help build the muscles involved in the slapshot. There are a lot of Slastix workouts in the book mentioned above, and you can find the Slastix here. I just got a Slastix, and a Medicine ball, so I will update everyone in a few months to let you know how my shot is doing!
If you have any workouts that have helped you improve your shot just leave them in the comment section below!