Why Some Of Your Hockey Training Should Be Asymmetrical

Today I am going to give you the easy-reader version of the Postural Restoration Institute course that physiotherapist Brian Gastaldi and I took a few weekends ago.  Going to boil down 18 hours of classroom and lab work into a short article and give you two specific exercises that you can start with now.

But first I am wondering how your week going so far?  Mine has been really productive, so I just have to keep the hammer down as I finish up a new training program (it is for goalies) that I have been working on for the last 2.5 months.  I think it will be ready sometime next week – I will let you know.

Other than that, just waiting for the first real snowfall of the season and waiting for the next Leafs game (not ’til Friday).  Okay, now let’s talk Postural Restoration.

PRI Basics:  Your Normal Abnormalities

I thought I would try to put the basics from the Myokinematic Restoration course down on paper (or monitor as the case may be) in 500 words or less.  I have also made a video because I think the visuals will help.

So strap on your thinking cap and here we go…

If you try to do the splits with one leg forward and one leg back, which way is easier – I bet it is when you have your left leg forward for most of you.

When you stretch your hamstrings, is one side always tighter – I bet the right is tighter for most of you.

When you are just standing around the next time, pay attention to how you are standing (or how your friends are standing) – I bet you probably are standing with your weight over your right leg and your left foot turned out a little bit.

How did I do?

It seems crazy, but most of you will have the same findings and follow the same patterns.  Why?  Well in some ways it is complicated, in other ways it is one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ things.

Here are a few of the reasons:

  • We have a big blob of a liver sitting on our right side – we want to post that up by hanging off our right leg.
  • Our heart sits over the left side of the diaphragm, which changes the shape of the diaphragm and may lead us to shift our upper torso to the left a little bit.
  • Most of us are left brain dominant, which is the side that controls the right side of the body, so we tend to overload the right.

The consequences are some specific asymmetries throughout the body.  The 2-day course I took only focused on the hips so I will have to wait for the other courses to talk about the thoracic spine and shoulders.

But at the hips you will see a predictable pattern of:

Right hip:  Adduction, internal rotation and extension

Left hip: Abduction, external rotation and flexion

So with this predictable pattern of asymmetry, we can do some equal and opposite work on each side to help you at least get over the left leg.  You will likely still have that bias toward the right side, but at least you will be able to use the left side.

So to restore movement to the left you would do:

Abduction, external rotation and extension on the RIGHT side

Adduction, internal rotation and flexion on the LEFT side

A little confusing isn’t it – let me show you two repositioning exercises that you can include in your warm-up – check out the video below.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, simply click the link below…

Just the surface

There is a lot more to it than this – there is evaluating and then re-evaluating, but I want you to understand that this is why you may see some asymmetrical exercise progressions coming in the future.  It may also answer some questions you have probably had about your side-to-side differences in terms of movement.

Have a wicked day!

Hockey training blueprint