If you want to take your hockey game to the next level, you must focus on more than strength, speed and power. Having sufficient mobility will help you take advantage of those other athletic attributes and maximize your performance on the ice.
The term mobility is often confused with flexibility, but they are different. Mobility refers to the ability to move a limb through its full range of motion with control. Flexibility refers to a specific muscle's ability to lengthen.
Mobility is critical because it allows you to move your body as you intend. If tight muscles or connective tissue limit your range of motion, you might be unable to skate as fast or shoot a puck as hard as you would like. Tightness can also cause imbalances, which can result in injury over the course of a season. When a joint is compromised, other nearby joints must compensate, causing a ripple effect. Poor mobility in one area may cause pain and injury in another area of the body.
Each of the following dynamic warm-up exercises is specific to the needs of hockey players, who are constantly bent over at the hips and hunched at the shoulders. Hip and shoulder mobility are critical. So is ankle mobility, for pushing off the ice with max force.
- Rocking Ankle Mobilization x 8 reps each ankle
- Supine Leg Whips x 8 reps each leg
- Walking Spiderman with Overhead Reach x 8 reps each leg and arm
- Alternating Lateral Lunge Walks x 8 reps each leg
- Yoga Push-Up x 8 reps
Watch the video at the top of this article for demonstrations of each mobility exercise, and check out these foam rolling exercises for hockey players to learn more techniques for improving mobility.
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