Off-Season Training… Part 3 – Hip and Lower Body Care for Hockey Players A lifetime of Mobility for 20 Bucks…

By Nunzio Signore (B.A. CPT, NASM, FMS PES)

CalvesSMR

In today’s post we are covering Part 3 of Off-Season Training for Hockey Players.  In case you missed Part 2 please click here.

In Part 3 of this “off-season” training series for hockey players we are going to get into hip and lower body care.

With the hockey off-season here, we hear the same complaints from the guys coming in to start their off-season training, comments like, “my back hurts right here” or “my hip flexor feels tight”. Much of this is discomfort is stemming from the residual stress associated with playing hockey and being on skates during a long season. This stress can be simply avoided with the use of a foam roller or lacrosse ball.

What is foam rolling?

Foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR) is a great way athletes can help alleviate soreness and pain from overuse. The best part about it is that it’s inexpensive!!

How does it work?

SMR stimulates a contraction in the muscle, triggering a reflex known as “autogenic inhibition”. In layman’s terms this is where the muscle will relax as a protective device. Basically, you can get many of the benefits of stretching without the lengthening of the muscle which may not always be the best thing for certain athletes. Foam rolling, however, will help break up the soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue in the area, much like a massage but without the cost!

These improvements in muscle “tone” don’t happen overnight. So making it a part of your daily warm up or pre-game routine will produce valuable results on the ice. This is why SMR is a staple of our hockey strength and conditioning program at RPP.

How do you do it?

You use your bodyweight to apply pressure to the targeted area. Roll slowly away from the body and stop and “bear down” on the most tender spots. When the pain diminishes by at least 50% roll the other areas. The more body weight you lay onto the roller the more pressure you’ll apply to the tissue. (Please note – people with circulatory problems should not use foam rollers.)

In this blog we’re making the lower body a priority as these muscles transfer directly over to the ice. So, let’s grab a foam roller (available at your local sporting goods store or from www.performbetter.com) and get after it !! (We’ve acquired the services of Suffern High School hockey’s Kevin Hill for these first two.)

1. Hamstrings:

Balance on your hands with your hamstrings resting on the roller. Roll from the glute to the beginning of the knee. Roll with your feet turned in, out and straight ahead to make sure you cover the entire hamstring complex.

2. Calves:

Set up like the hamstring, except this time you’ll be rolling from the top of the calf to the ankle.

3. Hip Flexors:

Lie face down balancing on your forearms and with your feet crossed. Roll from the top of the thigh to the beginning of the hip.

 Be careful to avoid the knee on these next three (4, 5 and 6)

4. I.T. Band:

This one gives a lot of people trouble and is painful for most. To start, lie on your side with the roller just under the pelvis. Roll down the side of your thigh until you reach the knee.

 

5. Quadriceps:

Lie face down in the same position as the hip flexor. This time roll down to the bottom of the quad to where it attaches to the knee.

 6. Adductors:

Balance once again on your forearms with the inner thigh of one leg on the roller. Roll down to just above the knee.

7. Glute medius and piriformis:

I use a lacrosse ball for this one and this also is one that smarts a lot. Sit with one leg crossed with the ball at the top of your glute. Gently lean onto the ball. Placing more body weight into the lean will intensify the effect.

Summary

Foam rolling (SMR) can really help carry you through a season in top form and is a great pre and post warm-up on game days and practice.

The RPP Skaters Program is a complete top to bottom off-season protocol for ages 13+.  It is comprised of 8-week training programs, meeting 2x per week for a total of 16 sessions in each eight week cycle.  The programs begin in March and end in September just before the start of the new high school season.  Please register by clicking here if you are interested.

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