Improving shot power is one of the most saught after skills in hockey. Goalies fear the “hard” shot, coaches expect it as you advance in hockey, and players love the feeling of firing off a hard clapper or wrister. While shot power involves many different muscles to generate power the key is good wrist and grip strength that finishes the shot and sends it on it’s way in a hurry.
When working with players to develop grip and wrist strength I use a variety of methods to get the job done from using a heavy sledge hammer on a tire to direct gripping exercises such as the Rolling Thunder. At the end of most workouts I include grip work to tax these muscles and ensure they are very strong. I provide a detailed description, photos and workout protocols in my book DRYLAND to show all the methods I use to train the gripping strength and improve shot power.
One of my favorite methods of grip development, and certainly the most versatile is a product called Fat Gripz. Essentially Fat Gripz pull apart and go over a regular dumbbell or barbell to provide a fat grip on the bar. Research has shown that using a thick grip when performing regular exercises such as deadlifts, bench press, chin/pull-ups, rows, curls, etc. develops the wrist muscles much more than using a barbell or dumbbell alone. Strength and Conditioning expert Charles Poliquin has this to say about Fat Gripz and the use of thick grip training;
“Thick dumbbells are not cheap and you can only find them in top notch training centers. But there is an alternative: FAT GRIPZ. They are tough as hell and fit on any regular weight training equipment better than anything else I have ever seen. Now you have no excuses for sporting your weak eleven-teen inch arms!”
It is essential that hockey players spend at least a little bit of extra time each workout developing shot power by training the wrist and gripping muscles. Give it a try for a month and see how much improving shot power can help your game!