hockey player shooting on shooting pad at shooting tarp

Using Grip Strength to Develop Your Shot

The funny thing about a shot is that there is no guaranteed way you can look at a player and know right away if he has a hard shot or not.

Sure, if he looks pretty muscular you can start to think he might have a howitzer.

On the other hand, if a player is super skinny you can get the idea that he/she is unlikely to have a hard shot.

But the thing is, you just don’t know. Sometimes those big guys have pretty standard shots, and there are plenty of smaller guys out there on the ice that have an absolute rocket of a shot. I’m sure a few are already coming to mind for you right now.

hockey shot training area

A lot of this comes down to technique (of course), and hand grip strength.

Those guys who appear small but have an excellent shot normally have crushing grip strength. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a strength coach and nutrition specialist and have worked with a lot of professional athletes in my career. Last summer, I was running a crew of both NFL and NHL players through some offseason training in California and was blown away by one player’s grip strength.

This guy is a well-known name in the hockey world and from a “gym strength” perspective, you could say he was pretty average. Average on the bench, squat, deadlifts, row, etc. Keep in mind average for a pro-athlete is a different definition of average, but, what blew me away was two things:

  1. How hard his shot was
  2. How his grip strength far exceeded every other hockey player there, and even every single one of the NFL players there who were 250lbs+

That was incredible. I have already written extensively about the mechanics of grip strength and how that can improve your hockey shot power in several blog posts, spoken about it in some YouTube videos, and even made a full hockey specific program around strengthening your grip to create massive increases in shot power. One summer, we had a player contact us that he improved his shot power 10mph by the end of his offseason.

But, even with all the work I had done in this area this was the craziest example that I had seen of it. Studying something and seeing it work are two dramatically different areas for sports development. A geek in a lab can tell you a lot about muscle, but a well experienced coach knows what really works and what really doesn’t.

Today, I want to give you a free hand grip workout that is going to translate into you having a harder shot. It will be run in two different complexes:

  • Complex 1 will be for your hand specific strength.
  • Complex 2 will be for your forearm specific strength.

Complex 1

  • A1: Plate pinchers x 20secs
  • A2: Hex DB holds x 20secs
  • A3: BB hold x 20secs
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

Complex 2

  • B1: EZ bar levering x 6-8 reps per hand
  • B2: Behind the back BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • B3: Pronated grip seated BB wrist curls x 6-8
  • Rest 2mins, repeat circuit 3 times.

You can perform this workout 2-3 days per week, I recommend performing it at the end of your workouts as a “finisher” due to the fact that having a burnt-out grip would affect all your other lifts if you did it first. You might have to get your daughter to help you open jars the day after this one.

shooting pad

But, any good coach and any good player knows that performance feedback is a must to make sure you know that what you are doing is having a positive impact on your performance, which is why I recommend picking up the HockeyShot Professional Shooting Pad and the HockeyShot Extreme Hockey Radar to both practice and measure your shooting power this offseason. Without data you’re just hoping your training is working, with these tools you can take the guesswork out of your offseason and become a better hockey player for it.

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