Hockey EOTW 1: Contra DB Row

I am going to feature an exercise every week starting today so I picked one of my favourite exercises that will help either skaters or goalies have stronger, more stable hips while developing mid-back and biceps strength.

Hockey Training Exercise Of The Week: Contra DB Row

I love this exercise because, as you will feel, you are using your lateral hip on one side and your mid back muscles on the opposite side.  Without getting super-geek on you, these muscles create what is referred to as a kinetic chain or a functional chain.  So the muscles on of the upper back on the right side integrate with the muscles on the lower back/hip on the left side.

Think of how you skate, with one arm and the opposite leg moving forward at the same time, this is to take advantage of this functional chain.


Muscles Targeted:

Gluteus Maximus, Glute Medius, Rhomboid, Mid-Trapezius, Latissiumus Dorsi, Biceps.


  • Hold a DB in your right hand and balance on your left foot
  • Pivot forward at your hips so your torso (and right leg) are parallel to the floor
  • Maintain that position as you perform a rowing action with your right arm, thinking about drawing your shoulder blade back slightly as you row the weight up.
  • Check out the video above for a full demonstration

How Many Sets and Reps?

Typically for this exercise we do 3-4 sets of 6-8 repetitions on each side with a tempo of one count up, one pause at the top, two count down and zero pause at the bottom.

When To Use the Contra DB Row

The Contra DB Row can be used in your off-ice hockey training any time you have a rowing exercise.  We do not use it during our max strength phase of training, since the balance element can make it hard to use a really heavy load which is what we want during the max strength phase, but if you refer back to the Performance Pyramid, you will see that it can fit in very nicely in the foundation or functional phase of your training.

It also makes a great in-season option as you get some work on your lateral hip, balance and mid-back with one exercise – lots of bang for your buck.

Enjoy! – – M

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