Yoga or Pilates for hockey goalies? And some sad news.

Hi Gang,

Sorry for going AWOL last week – it was actually the worst week of my life so far.  On Wednesday my Dad died unexpectedly from a heart attack, so as you can imagine it was a terrible shock to our whole family but we received wonderful support from our friends and family so we are doing pretty well considering.  Maybe at a later date I will tell you a little more about my Dad but for now I have included my favourite photo of my Dad below and a funny one with my brother and I sitting on my Dad’s lap when we were kids.  He was a great man and a great Dad – we will miss him.

Should hockey goalies do yoga or pilates?

For today’s post, here is an article about the value of yoga or pilates for hockey goalies.

Over the last 5 years you have heard about an increasing number of hockey goalies who supplement their off-ice training with either Yoga or Pilates, so I get asked pretty regularly  if that is something I recommend.

I think either one can have its place as a supplemental training modality and I am okay with either one given the following conditions:

1.       Find the very best instructor in your area and one who has experience working with athletes.  Like any other form of training, the coach can make all the difference.  Just like personal trainers or strength coaches, if you evaluate all of the yoga/pilates instructors in your hometown you will find that they cover the spectrum from downright dangerous, to average, to outstanding.

2.       Choose one or the other. My preference for hockey goalies is for the yoga, I think the time devoted to flexibility work has a great value, whereas I think the core control that pilates emphasizes will be addressed by your functional strength training, so it may be redundant.  I am also not a fan of some of the lumbar spine flexion that is a part of pilates progressions.  Based on Dr. McGill’s research on the load tolerance of spines I just have a preference to avoid those postures where possible.

3.       Yoga or pilates is not a substitute for your stability, strength, speed or stamina training.  I have come across goalies who tell me how hard they have worked in the off-season by doing 1.5 hours of yoga everyday!  Then they are boggled because they are still slow on the ice and do not have a wider butterfly flare.  You need to strategically work on those exercises which will help you perform better on the ice.  Need to be quicker?  Then you may need more mobility to get a nice full push, but you definitely need more strength.   So if you are completing your strength and power training 4-5 days per week, then feel free to supplement with a couple days of yoga.  If you are only getting in two days of resistance training and energy system development, then you better bump that up first before you start spending more time on the yoga.

I hope this helps you figure out how to fit in either yoga or pilates into your off-season training.  I think they can both be good supplemental training tools, again my preference is probably for the yoga, but I am not saying pilates is bad, just expressing my opinion.

Please let me know what other off-season training questions  you have so I can make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.