The problem with Minor Hockey Players is they tend to focus on doing Sit-Ups, Crunches, and other poorly designed exercises. These exercises put a lot of unnecessary compression on the spine and do not teach good positions to transfer to the ice. Before engaging in types of strength and conditioning programs, please seek and consult with a professional trainer.
A good simple core training is valuable for Minor Hockey Players who want to skate fast and have a stronger core. The goal should be to choose exercises that teach stability to allow for improved performance and help with pain alleviation. There are some simple great core exercises for hockey players to reach that goal.
Hockey players need a lot of hip mobility to skate fast. To improve hip mobility, we have to address core stability. Players must be able to sink their hips back and bend at the knee to be in a good position. When a hockey player is skating down the ice, the leg performing the stride wants to fully extend and use the glutes to create the most powerful push.
The glutes are hip extenders. They are also the biggest muscle in the lower body. If you want to skate faster, it is essential to use this muscle group. When the core is weak and the low-back muscles fire, the glutes shut off. Starting with a better position means you can properly use your glutes to skate faster.
Skating and shooting are where hockey players can experience significant back pain. This is because they are stuck in extension. Over time, the muscles will usually be in rough shape, and there can even be damage to the structure of the spine, which can be really painful. One of the best ways to counteract extended posture is through good simple core training.
How to Build-up Core Strength
Core training for hockey players should be geared toward resisting the movements they do during normal play. That almost seems like a backward mentality, but it will allow them to better control their bodies on the ice.
The two biggest areas to reduce back pain in hockey players are anti-extension, resisting an arch in the back, and anti-rotation, resisting a turning of the torso.
When we train anti-extension exercises, it is easy to slip into bad compensation. Careful attention needs to be paid to keeping the core tight and preventing an increased arch in the back. The key is to let the ribs fall down by giving a more neutral position for the spine.
Here are some useful simple exercises to improve your core stability
Reverse Crunches – YouTube Video Credited to ChadMollickDotCom
You have likely seen the reverse crunch before as it is one of the core movements you first learn when beginning to train your body for hockey performance, but, this doesn’t make it “basic” by any means.
The reverse crunch, when performed properly in the context of a core circuit is still an incredibly difficult exercise to perform a lot of reps with good technique. Although beneficial, it is quite limited in its ability to target multiple aspects of core training and instead is primarily an anterior core training exercise.
Slideboard Bodysaw – YouTube Video Credited to Testosterone Nation
This exercise poses an anti-extension challenge in a different position than the Leg Lower. Too many athletes let their hips drop toward the floor when they do this. Your whole body should stay in a straight line while moving. (If you do not have a sideboard, simply put a towel on a surface that slides.)
Thread the Needle – YouTube Video Credited to Workoutaholic
With this exercise, you resist lateral flexion, or side bending, of the spine. Activating and strengthening the lateral core will improve the hip internal rotation. This helps the leg recover in the stride.
Half-Kneeling Pallof Press – YouTube Video Credited to The Power Plant Gym
I like this one because it is an anti-rotation movement. The reason for half-kneeling is to get a stretch on the hip flexor and quad. Remember not to arch your back.
Wall Press Leg Lower – YouTube Video Credited to NINE11 Strong
This is an anti-extension movement. The goal is to keep the low back flat on the ground. Those who struggle with this movement will feel their back arch and come off the floor. The Leg Lower also provides a bit of hip mobility.
Rest and Recovery
In order to get the most out of your core workout, you need to give your body time to rest and recover.
The most convenient option for this is to go ahead and choose one or two days when you can take it easy, giving your muscles a chance to repair themselves, and grow!
This type of core training is a popular way to get fit for Minor Hockey Players without the heavy lifting of weights and has been used in many sports. If you start working on your core, in my opinion, is the best hockey training exercise, and by adding a stretching program you will be able to dominate each opponent you encounter on the ice.
Additionally, these hockey-specific core workouts are for strength and conditioning, but there are a number of other hockey strength and conditioning exercises that should be included in a well-balanced training program. Lastly, always consult with a professional trainer for your fitness needs.
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