3 muscles you use on every stride but have never heard of.

London Knights hockeyJust me or did that weekend go incredibly fast?  Wow!  We actually got a lot done, starting Friday night where I got to see one of our Revolution athletes backstop his London Junior Knights AA team to a 4-1 win at the Budweiser Gardens and then we got to stay and watch the OHL’s London Knights have a go at the Oshawa Generals.

Unfortunately the Knights came up a little short, but it was still a great game to watch.

Then Saturday evening we headed downtown again – which is crazy because we pretty much never go out at night – to see one of my favourite bands – the Indigo Girls.  I had never seen them before, but have been a fan for over 20-years, so when they were playing right here in London, we could not miss it.
Paul was not super keen to go see the ‘Girls’ play, but in the end, I am not sure who enjoyed it more.  They were fantastic!  Finally, yesterday was spent training clients in the morning and then doing my quarterly bookkeeping during the afternoon and now I am ready to attack Monday!

3 Muscles You Have Never Heard Of…

If I asked you to point to your biceps, you would all point to the front part of your upper arm right?  A few of you smartie-pants, might point to the back of you thigh, because you actually do have a biceps there as well – the biceps femoris.

You can probably even list off a few different exercises you do as part of your off-ice hockey training that target the biceps.

But now I want you to point to your Quadratus Lumborum (QL), your Serratus Anterior and your Iliopsoas – hmmmmm maybe you went 1:3 on those.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, simply click the link below…
http://youtu.be/uO0s0kRNlsk

The funny part is that you use them all every time you play hockey, pretty much on every single stride and shot or save, yet they are no where to be found in your hockey training program.

Some of you are not even using these muscles as they should be used right now and you likely don’t even notice, but your body sure does as your lower back extensors pick up the slack from your weak, lazy QL – every get a tired achy back in the late stages of a game?

Your inability to use your iliopsoas (iliacus + psoas) may be contributing to a slowly developing sports hernia that you are completely unaware of until you get that pain that just won’t go away.

The serratus anterior is like a core muscle for your shoulder, it helps anchor the shoulder blade and protects your rotator cuff muscles from strain or impingement, probably those of you who do know what it is, learned that from your physio when you were in for shoulder pain.

Well, let my try and save you a trip to the physio and a few weeks (or months) sitting in the bleachers watching the game while you recover from your injury.  Here are a few exercises you can do to target each muscle and why they are important.

Quadratus Lumborum

This muscle is a deep lateral flexor and extensor of the spine – can you see how it might come in handy when you are skating, passing, shooting?

This is probably one of the easiest exercises ever – it is not even one of those sneaky ones that looks easy, but actually is super hard.  This one really is THAT easy.

I call it the QL Crunch – I show you how to do it in the video below, just remember not to try and get too much range of motion; don’t force it.  Do two sets of 10-15 reps on each side twice per week.

core training for hockeyIliopsoas

This is one of your hip flexor muscles – it has two portions, the Iliacus which goes from your upper thigh to your pelvis and your psoas which goes from your upper thigh to your lumbar vertebrae.

So this muscle has an impact on the hip, but also the lumbar spine – crazy eh?

Do the ‘test’ I show you in the video first to see if you can even activate it properly – if you flunk this test then no WONDER your hip flexors always feel super, super tight – you have been over using your other hip flexor (the rectus femoris) while the iliopsoas has basically been kicking back takin’ it easy.

No worries, we just need to give it a little wake up call – do two sets of 5 reps on each side with a 5-second hold.  Do that twice per week.

Serratus Anterior

The SA is responsible for holding your shoulder blade flush against your rib cage so it does not ‘wing’ out.  The winging looks funny when you have your shirt off, but more importantly, it completely screws up the function of the shoulder.

If you weren’t an athlete that may be inconsequential, but you are an athlete, so we need to fix it before your rotator cuff muscles start getting shredded.

Do 2 sets of 10-15 Serratus Push Ups like I show you in the video, twice per week.

So there you have it the three exercises that have never found their way into your hockey training, but should be included every week.

Cheers,
Maria

Make sure you don’t miss any other essential muscles with these no-brainer, done-for-you, specific workouts for skaters and goalies.