Core Exercises for Ice Hockey

by Developing the Core
Kinetic Select May 2017


Focusing on developing the core muscles in a strength and conditioning program for ice hockey players can improve performance of movements on the ice.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from the new book, Developing the Core, the latest release in the NSCA’s Sport Performance Series with Human Kinetics. All text and images provided by Human Kinetics.


The sport of hockey involves myriad skills that are essential to success. Hockey is a high-velocity anaerobic sport that involves acceleration, deceleration, abrupt stops, and explosive starts. Performing rotational movements that elicit high levels of core muscle activity is vital for a hockey player. In hockey, rotational movements occur at the hip, trunk, and shoulders. Approximately 30 to 50 percent of the force generated from rotational movement is derived from the hips and shoulders. Additionally, Wells and Luttgens demonstrated that during the slap shot, 25 percent of the force was generated from the trunk, 40 to 45 percent from the shoulders, and 30 to 35 percent from the elbow and wrist.

Stability Ball Side Crunch

Lie sideways on top of a stability ball, feet planted firmly on the floor. Place your fingertips by your temples, elbows wide of your body, and lower your bottom elbow downward as far as comfortably possible. Keeping your fingertips pressed to your temples, raise your top elbow so your trunk laterally flexes as far as possible. Contract your obliques and then return along the same path back to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat on the opposite side. Refer to Figures 1 and 2.


Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with your body at approximately a 40-degree angle with the floor and knees bent. Hold your arms straight in front of you, palms facing in, core parallel to the floor. Keeping your lower body stable, turn your shoulders to one side while both feet remain on the floor. Rotate back to center and repeat to the other side. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, alternating sides with each repetition. Refer to Figures 3 and 4.


Dumbbell Side Bend

Grasp two dumbbells and allow them to hang at your sides, palms facing toward your body. Assume a shoulder-width stance with a slight bend to your knees. Keeping your core tight, bend your torso to the left as far as comfortably possible. Contract your obliques and then return along the same path to the start position. Repeat on your right, then alternate sides until the desired number of repetitions is reached. Refer to Figures 5 and 6.



Developing the Core, published by Human Kinetics, features several other core exercises for ice hockey, along with exercises for baseball/softball, football, golf, ice hockey, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. The book is available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online in the NSCA Store.

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