In hockey, players constantly face the risk of injury due to the vigorous demands of the sport. While helmets and padding protect specific areas, one must not neglect the importance of strengthening the neck, shoulders, upper back, and abdominals. These key muscle groups play a vital role in enhancing stability, minimizing injury risks, and ultimately improving performance on the ice.
The neck is prone to injuries, particularly whiplash, which commonly occurs during collisions or sudden body movements on the ice. Strengthening the neck muscles helps mitigate such injuries. Incorporate exercises like neck extensions, flexions, and rotations using resistance bands or manual resistance. Gradually increase resistance over time to build endurance and resilience.
Shoulder injuries are prevalent in hockey due to frequent contact and repetitive
movements involved in stickhandling and shooting. Strong shoulder muscles contribute to stability and reduce the risk of dislocation, rotator cuff issues, and other shoulder-related injuries. Perform exercises like shoulder presses, lateral raises, and external rotations using dumbbells or resistance bands. Focusing on all three deltoid heads (anterior, medial, and posterior) will ensure overall shoulder stability and strength.
Upper Back Development
A robust upper back is vital for maintaining proper posture, absorbing checks, and preventing back injuries. Strengthening exercises like rows, pulldowns, and reverse flys target the rhomboids, trapezius muscles, and posterior deltoids. Aim for a balanced back routine that targets both upper and lower back to avoid muscular imbalances.
The core, including the abdominals, plays a crucial role in providing stability and transferring power between the upper and lower body. A strong core improves balance and helps protect the spine from potential injuries caused by falls or collisions. Incorporate exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and medicine ball twists to work on core strength. Ensure to focus on all core muscle groups, including the obliques and lower back for overall stability and injury prevention.
Injuries can significantly impact a hockey player's performance and overall well-being. Preventative measures through targeted exercises, focusing on strengthening the neck, shoulders, upper back, and abdominals, are essential. By developing these muscles and enhancing stability, players can reduce the risk of injuries, maintain proper posture, and improve their on-ice performance. Remember, consistency is key, so make these exercises an integral part of your training routine. Stay strong, stay resilient, and enjoy the game without the fear of unnecessary injuries. If you are looking for a sport-specific strength program- our Kinesiology team can help. Book a FREE consult today.
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