Hockey players often have the hip mobility of a scarecrow.
The unfortunate part is that hockey players need a lot of hip mobility to skate fast. They must be able to sink their hips back and bend at the knee to be in a good position.
Over time, the hockey stride will cause overuse and tightness in the glutes when not addressed.
Core strength is also an interesting quality for hockey players. These athletes spend a lot of time in spinal extension.
Extension is usually displayed as a larger arch in the back and the ribs flare up. This position causes the core and glutes to shut off and the low back muscles to fire. Repeat this over and over and it is not surprise that hockey players have issues with their backs.
It may seem like these athletes are extending their hip but most of the motion comes from the low back/pelvis. Over time this can cause injury or serious discomfort.
When a hockey player is skating down the ice, the leg performing the stride wants to get fully extended to create the most powerful push. When the spine goes into extension and that large lower back curve exists, we cannot extend the hip completely. The athlete will not skate as fast as possible because of this.
The glutes are hip extenders. When the core is weak and the low back muscles fire, the glutes are shut off. They are the biggest muscle in the lower body and hockey players should be using it for all it is worth. Starting with a better position means we can properly utilize the glutes to skate faster.
The core really acts as a link from the lower body to the upper body. When it goes into that kind of extension, consider the link broken. There is no amount of power skating or on-ice drills that will teach a better rib position when skating.
This is where the off-ice training becomes a complement, in case you are new here and didn’t realize that I like talking hockey.
Today, I am introducing the half kneeling groin position. There are about a million exercises that can be built off of this position and I really like it.
I originally found it from Maria Mountain of www.hockeytrainingpro.com. The video is below.
This position hits adductor length, ability to abduct the hip, and stability. Exercises in this position can include:
- Pallof presses
- Overhead Pallof presses
- Anti-rotation chops
- High to low chops
- Pretty much anything else you can think of
Hockey players are prone to injuring the groin of the front foot of their dominant crossover. For example, crossing the right over the left would mean the left is more at risk since it is asked to do more work, more often. Building strength and stability is a good way to combat that.
This position forces the core, groin, and glutes to fire and stabilize. That kind of sequence will really help hockey players get these underused muscles activated.
Adding in some core work from the half kneeling groin position at the end of the workout can help with strength and mobility. From there, take it to the ice and practice the same patterns to skate faster.
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