Hacking Hockey Training: Glutes – the forgotten muscle

This is an article that I’m a little uncomfortable writing. This is because I feel like I’m giving away my secret. That being said, it isn’t really my secret to give. It is something I’ve figured out after studying the best. And the secret is this: train the glutes!

This trick, is what has our athletes leaving the gym after a summer of training, saying that they REALLY notice a difference on the ice. 

What do I mean when I say, train the glutes? Well, gluteus maximus is your biggest, most powerful muscle in the body. Its job is to extend and externally rotate the hips. (Hint: skating requires powerful hip extension and external rotation!) Unfortunately, many trainers neglect to train the glutes. How? Sloppy setup mechanics for all lifts, sloppy squat and deadlift mechanics can cause your body to train other muscles instead of the glutes. Commonly, I see deadlifters and squatters “tension hunting”, consequently using their hamstrings to hip extend. Even worse, I see athletes who perform their movements mostly using knee flexion and extension instead of hip flexion/extension. These athletes, are not only mashing their knees, but training their body to use less powerful muscles…the quadriceps.

Listen to Dan John, Kelly Starrett, Louie Simmons, and they’ll all tell share a similar message: you need to learn to use technique that uses the glutes correctly in your lifts. Train those movements properly, and you’ll be able to lift more, which will make you stronger, which will help your performance more. Train those movements properly, and they’ll become a part of your athletic or sport movement patterns too! Train those movements properly and you’ll reduce your risk of injury.

How do we ensure our athletes are training their glutes? Here’s how:

  • Ensure they know perfect setup mechanics for a lift
  • The above includes squeezing glutes, toes forward, screw feet into ground, shove knees out
  • Ensure that athletes posteriorly load on all lifts. 
  • Teach athletes proper triple extension, avoiding lordosis
  • Use exercises that bias hip flexion and extension

Train your glutes with proper movement patterns, and see your lifts jump through the roof if you’re using the correct movement patterns. You’ll then see your on-ice performance jump through the roof right behind your lifts.

All the best, and have fun developing buns of steel!



Published by

Jason at Train 2.0

2.0 was born from the belief that 1.0 isn't good enough. The way we're approaching coaching, training, and development for hockey needs to be rethought. My own lessons have led me to rethink the way it's being done and I can't help but write about it. I'm writing for my 12, 13, 14, 15 year old self who didn't have this resource. I'm writing for parents who are putting their dollars and trust in coaches who are wasting all of it. I'm writing because I hope it can make a difference.

5 thoughts on “Hacking Hockey Training: Glutes – the forgotten muscle”

    1. Most exercises with any amount of hip flexion involve glute activation. So squats, deadlifts, single leg step up, single leg squats are all great exercises. Ones I am focusing on right now are the Westside Box squat and single leg squats to bench.

  1. And what about number of reps/weight? Is it more beneficial for skating to lift heavier weight with less reps or less weight with more reps (focusing on muscular endurance), or a combination of both?

    1. Short Answer: Less reps!
      For your weight, choose a weight that you can do correctly. Your goal should
      Be to move the weight with perfect technique. Naturally, and based on the principle of progressive overload, doing reps perfectly will slowly and surely lead perfect reps with higher and higher weight. Perfect reps will lead to correct motor patterns (training glutes) that will most transfer to skating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s