Does Your Hockey Training Include Rotator Cuff Exercises


Don’t forget the rotator cuff in your hockey training program

I find when players create their own hockey training programs they tend to cover most of the big stuff – sometimes too much of the big stuff (bench press, DB bench press, incline DB bench press, decline DB bench press, cable pec flyes, DB pec flyes….you get the idea).

What is often missing is the little things, the things that set the foundation for success for all the exercises to follow (yes, even success in your bench).  In this case I am thinking about the rotator cuff of the shoulder.  Essentially, the rotator cuff is the ‘core’ of the shoulder joint.  It is what stabilizes the big head of the humerus (upper arm) within the relatively shallow glenoid fossa (the socket).

Remember we can only express the strength that we can stabilize, so even if you train on machines and can chest press the entire stack, once you are on the ice you won’t be able to use that strength unless the smaller muscles deep in the joint – like the rotator cuff – can stabilize effectively.

If you have ever had a rotator cuff tear or impingement, you know how hard it is to sleep, brush your teeth or put on your jersey.  With a rotator cuff injury you can forget about your off-ice strength training for a while.

Before I send you to check out the video of the exercises, remember that these are small muscles, so use a very light load to target them.  You will be able to do the movements with heavier loads, no problem, but you will also be using bigger prime movers (rather than stabilizers) to get the job done.  This will lead to the creation of dysfunctional muscle recruitment patterns.

Three rotator cuff exercises you can add to your hockey training

  • Bungee Shoulder Internal Rotation x 12 each
  • Bungee ‘W’ x 8
  • Side Lying DB Shoulder External Rotation x 8 each (very light, like 1-2lbs to start)

Add 1-2 of these to your routine twice per week.  Happy training!