Upper Body Exercises for Hockey Goalies

Hi Gang,

First off, thank you very much for all the support over the loss of my Dad.  Many of you have been through the same thing and your words of guidance and encouragement really helped, so again thank you very much.  We are all doing pretty well and we just keep chugging along.

I had a question on the GoalieStore.com bulletin board asking about some of my favourite upper body exercises for goalies so that is what I will focus on today.

4 favourite upper body exercises for hockey goalies

I wrote a post about a year ago outlining the importance of upper body exercises for hockey goalies but I did not give many specific exercises in that post so I will correct that now.  Regardless of the sport, I want the athletes I train to get maximum bang for their buck, so once again you will not see me using any of those mind-numbing bench press, seated row, preacher curl machines you see in the gym.  All of the upper body exercises I am sharing with you today integrate upper body strength, shoulder stabilization and core/hip stability – WOW – all that in a simple upper body exercise!

The exercises that I particularly like for hockey goalies are:

  1. Stability Ball Push Up – I love this exercise because it highlights the difference between strength and stability.  I have given this exercise to athletes who have no trouble bench pressing 300+ lbs for reps, but they cannot do one single rep of stability ball push up.  Is it because they are not strong enough?  No, it is because they lack the stability and their body will not allow them to express the strength they have in an unstable situation.  Last time I checked there was not much stable and static about hockey.  In addition to working the pecs, anterior deltoid and triceps this push up variation also requires stability from the anterior core and hips.  Just make sure you have a good burst resistant stability ball and dry hands before attempting this one.
  2. Body Row – This one is like a horizontal pull up so the prime movers are your biceps and the rhomboids, mid trapezius and lats of your mid back.  But you will also require stability in the posterior core from the back extensors through the glutes all the way down to the hamstrings.  When you do this one, make sure to keep your shoulders down, do not allow them to shrug up as you row.  Keep your chest up and think about ‘opening up’ your chest as you row up.
  3. Standing Cable Press – I love this ground based exercise because it puts you in more of a functional position.  You must use your legs, hips and core to stabilize the load you are trying to move with your upper body and you may be surprised to see that your upper body strength is not the limiting factor for how much force you can exert, but rather your stability through the torso or hips.  Remember to keep that back knee bent.
  4. Standing Cable Row – This is the final upper body exercise for hockey goalies to make my top four list.  Like the standing cable press, it requires work from the torso (posterior core in this case) and legs to stabilize the movement so not only does it make the prime movers stronger, but it also strengthens and challenges the stabilizers.

Video of my top 4 upper body exercises for hockey goalies here!

So those are my top four for today (tomorrow they may be different).  But here are my other favourites – sorry no video of these today:

  • Chin Ups
  • Push Up to Knee Tuck with Feet on Stability Ball
  • Barbell Push Press
  • Standing Landmine Press
  • Contra Latera Dumbbell Row
  • Dumbbell Lateral Hop & Raise

Hope that gives you a few exercises that you can add to your off-ice training this week.  Happy training!