Bottom Up Dryland Goalie Training: The Hip

In a minute I will share the next installment of my Bottom Up Dryland Goalie Training series.  This week it is all about the hip.  I know most of you know the basics, so today I am passing along a few subtle exercises that you may not have tried before.

Am I the only one who is super excited that the NHL season starts Thursday?  I know I’m not – so here is my prediction for my favourite team, the Leafs…I am going to say it – THEY WILL MAKE THE PLAY-OFFS THIS YEAR!  Now, I am not really going out on a limb here, because I say this every single season, eventually I have to get it right; Don’t I?  Who are you cheering for?  Anyone think their team will win the Cup this year?  Go ahead put it out there, just leave a comment below telling us how awesome your team will be.  Any goalies you think we should really watch this year?  Personally, I am interested to see how Halak does in his second year with the Blues.  Okay – on to business…

Dryland Goalie Training: The Hip

The body works as a system so even your shoulder function or dysfunction can have an impact on your ankle function, so I hesitate to zero in on one single joint and say that it is the most important joint for a given athlete…but I am going to do it anyway.

If you think about the most important joint for a baseball pitcher, most of us would pick the shoulder.  Naturally a pitcher can not succeed with a bum elbow or back pain, but the most vulnerable area for injury in most pitchers is the shoulder.

For the hockey goalie it is the hip.  Again, if you have knee pain or back pain then it is going to be hard to be effective, but if you look at what area can limit or even end the career of a goalie it is the hip.

Like the shoulder, the hip is a ball and socket joint, which allows for great mobility – flexion, extension, abduction, adduction and rotation.  This is great for the hockey goalie because it allows you to get into your butterfly position and make those dramatic kick saves.

But again just like not every shoulder is structured to allow a pitcher to repeatedly throw a baseball without injury, not ever goalie has the hip structure that will allow you to repeatedly move your joint into the extreme end range of motion.

Some of these limitations are anatomical – it is just the way you are put together.  The ball and socket of your hip joint are not a perfect match so there is a bony restriction.  Some goalies require surgery to smooth out some of the surfaces to allow for full range of motion.

However there are some basic maintenance activities you can do to help maintain your hip health and even improve your range of motion.  A few of your go-to goalie off ice training exercises that help you see how your hips are functioning and keep them moving nicely are:

  • Quadruped Hip Extension – this will teach you to use your hip joint in isolation, rather than extending at the back and compensating for your lack of hip control by overloading your lower back.  Also a great way to get your glute working – you would be surprised how many athletes don’t use their glutes.  Do 10 reps on each side – hold for 2 seconds at the top.
  • Hip Flexion and Hold – another one to teach you movement at the hip without low back overload and compensation.  This one will also highlight whether or not you are actually using your deep hip flexor.  Do only 5 reps on each side, holding at the top for 5 seconds.
  • Side Lying Hip Abduction – this old school exercises is a good one – go slowly and hold at the top for 3 seconds.  Do 15 reps like this and you will feel the burn.
  • Side Lying Hip Adduction – a nice exercise that strengthens the groins, but also brings in the oblique abdominals – you will be surprised how tough the advanced version of this one is.  Again go for 15 reps.

Check out video of these dryland goalie training drills below…

So check out a few of those new dryland goalie training exercises for the hip – happy training!