To stay in shape through the off-season, Canadian defenseman Kevin Klein works with his strength coach Mike Krajewski. “He maintains the concept that explosive exercises will not only improve my power production throughout the lengthy NHL season, but also keep me lean, strong and conditioned for the minutes I play,” Klein says. Some of his favorites?
Squat jumps, single-leg bounds, and drop box jumps—moves that torch fat, boost sports performance (i.e. jump higher, run faster), and of course, build impressive leg strength and mass.
To complement the plyometric work, Klein’s trainer puts him through traditional barbell Olympic lifts with power and hang cleans, and plenty of kettlebell work. “Kettlebells are an amazing way to safely perform power movements, while subsequently training my aerobic system,” Klein says. Typically, they’ll do kettlebell swings, cleans, and light-weight snatches to keep him prepped between practice and lengthy hockey games where he sees a lot of time on the ice.
But the exercise that’s really translated to power performance on the ice is one you’re probably not doing—hip thrusts. Sure it’s a bit of an awkward exercise, but barbell hip thrusts, specifically, strengthen the glutes (which create a healthy back and flexible hamstrings). “The benefit of this exercise—to strongly develop hip and glute strength and power—directly relates to my hockey stride and my ability to skate harder, faster, and to create more drive and power out of each stride I take,” Klein adds.
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