5 Must Do Exercises for Hockey Players: Part One

5 Must Do Exercises for Hockey Players – Side lying Clamshell

This series of exercises for hockey players was inspired by my youth, you see when I was a kid our family had a cottage on Lake Huron and before I got a job during my grade 10 year of high school (I was a baker at a place called “Buns Master” – no joke), my brother, Mom and I used to spend the entire summer up there and my Dad would be home during the week to work and come up on the weekends.

It was awesome and one of the things I remember was that there would always be an epic mini-series on the one TV channel that we had.  We would be excited to see each and every episode and if there were storms brewing across the lake there would be some panic as we positioned the rabbit ears (not real rabbit ears, that is just what we called the antenna) to maximize the picture and minimize the static.  Occasionally we did have to bust out the tin foil to get the picture we wanted.

So in the spirit of those early mini-series, I am going to start a blog series today, which will be almost as enthralling as The Thornbirds.  Only instead of love, betrayal, triumph and defeat, my mini-series will focus on the 5 must do exercises for hockey players.

The Side Lying Clamshell

I know some of you were probably expecting a sick move with a kettlebell or TRX and I am sorry to disappoint, but I think this one is essential for several reasons…

Important Because #1: As the title of the article suggests this is an exercise for hockey players – skaters or goalies, it is a must do for all of you.

Important Because #2: It teaches the player (skater or goalie) to rotate at the hip independent of the pelvis and lower back.  In the business they call that dissociation – so it teaches the athlete to dissociate movement at the ball and socket hip joint from movement of the entire pelvis.

Is that important?  Heck yeah! Think about it, if every time you move at your hip joint (like on every stride let’s say), you have to rotate your pelvis which in turn has you rotating your lower back, can you see how over time this could lead to a lot of needless wear and tear on your spine and perhaps contribute to back pain or at very least that back fatigue you get toward the middle of the third period?

Important Because #3: It also lets you find a lateral rotator of the hip called the gluteus medius and teaches you to turn it on and off.  There are a few muscles that can rotate the hip like this – some of them are supposed to do that job and some of them (I’m talking about you Tensor Fascia Latae – TFL) are not supposed to do that job.

I am trying to help you put the correct muscle to work and build some endurance in it with this exercise.

What’s that you say?  You like it when you tensor fascia latae laterally rotates your hip?  Well you probably like it to flex and extend your hip too, don’t ya?  Yeah, I’ve seen your type before – ‘Just let my TFL do it.  It likes it.’  Let me tell ya, your TFL may be happy, but your Iliotibial Band (IT Band) certainly doesn’t.

The TFL is supposed to tension the Iliotibial band – that’s all.  Just because it can extend, abduct, flex and rotate the hip that does not mean it should.  The Iliotibial band does not need to be yanked on more than necessary, most of us are already too gnarly in the IT band anyway.

If you do nothing else from this five part series, please at least try the Side Lying Clamshell and make sure you feel it on the outside of your glutes, not along the top of your leg.  Here is the video showing you exactly how to do it…

Okay, now that the business is over and done with, I have a question about soccer…leave a comment below if you think that was a hand ball (of course I am talking about the Canada v. USA Women’s Soccer match at the Games) and then let us know what country you are from.  I am intruigued to know if even the Americans believe that it was clearly not a hand ball or if what I am feeling is just disappointment for our women’s team disguised as anger as a result of a gross injustice.

I know that this is all part of sport, just interested in what the HockeyTrainingPro community thinks – I think our girls were robbed, what do you think?

On a positive note – the Decathlon is today and tomorrow (Aug 8 & 9th) and one of our Team Revolution athletes, Damian Warner is competing, so send him some good vibes.  It is his first games so I hoping he has an awesome experience and a few PBs.