This is why hockey goalies need upper body training.

upper body training for hockey goaliesI was working with a 17-year old goalie the other day who stopped in the middle of the workout, turned to me and said, “Why do I need to do any upper body exercises?  I am a goalie!”

Well that stopped me in my tracks for two reasons:

1.       It was the first time I ever came across a 17 year old male who did not want to do upper body training.

2.       On the surface it makes some sense – but once you understand how the body works it makes no sense.

Let’s look at a sport where the athletes do not appear to use their arms at all to compete.  Track sprinting.  Those athletes just need to run, they do not need to throw or catch anything.  Now picture the upper body musculature of the fastest sprinters in the world – they are ripped!

Why are they so developed?  Is it so they will look great in their singlet?  Absolutely not – nor do they train like body builders to get that physique.  The upper body development of an elite sprinter shows us just how intertwined the musculature of the upper and lower body are.  When your lower body is doing work, your upper body is also working to help maintain balance, maintain stability and generate power.  There is a reason we run and skate with one arm moving forward as the other leg moves backward.  This puts a stretch into the kinetic chain which then translates into a elastic and reflexive contraction to act as a force multiplier.

Ever tried running or skating  or performing crease movements while keeping your arms crossed and you will see the huge impact the upper body has on the efficiency of movement.

Other reasons goalies need to strength train:

  • Shoulder stability and health.  The muscles that attach to the shoulder blade form the “core” of the shoulder.  These muscles need to be strong to allow for efficient and healthy functioning of the shoulder.
  • The upper body must be strong enough to transfer the power produced by the legs and transferred through the core when clearing or passing the puck up the ice.
  • Contact happens – it seems like running the goalie or ‘falling’ into the goalie happens once or twice per game.  Muscle is like your armour – you do not need as much bulk as a body builder, but you sure want a layer of strong smart muscle holding your shoulders, elbows and wrists in place.
  • If you are training properly, your upper body training will also help give you a strong core and strong hips.  If your upper body training is completed mainly on machines, then I agree it may not be that beneficial for a goalie.  If however most of your upper body training is done from a standing position using dumbbells, barbells or cable columns then not only are you making your upper body stronger, but you are also training your core and your hips the way you will need them in a game.

Need any more reasons than that?  Okay – how about Under Armour shirts in the locker room and having a droopy, doughy upper body.  Do you have a favourite upper body exercise?  Share it with us in the comments section below!

That’s all for today – have a great one!