Movement Deficiencies Among Ice Hockey Players And How To Fix Them

Jake Biondi, NSCA-CSCS, USAW L1-SP weighs on correcting movement deficiencies.

Ice hockey has evolved to the point where most athletes who participate in the sport are on the ice year round.  That means players are wearing skates more frequently and for longer periods of time.  The boot of the skate covers up the foot and ankle complex and restricts mobility in the ankle joint.  When the ankle joint cannot move freely it puts more stress on the knee and hip joints during skating.  Coaches teach players to maintain a low center of gravity by lowering their hips and knees and to forcefully extend the two joints when pushing off with each leg.  Over time, this position and restricted ankle mobility can weaken and tighten supporting muscle groups throughout the lower extremity.  If athletes don’t take the time to condition themselves properly in the off-season, their muscle weaknesses and imbalances could lead to serious injuries.

In order to restore strength and mobility, players must adhere to a proper program that combines corrective exercise strategies with a good sound strength and conditioning plan.  Athletes must first work to lengthen their tight muscle groups through flexibility techniques such as foam rolling and static stretching, than progress to muscle activation techniques in order to get the weak muscles to fire properly.  From there, they should receive proper coaching from a certified strength and conditioning professional on how to correctly perform strength training exercises.  It is important that athletes perform exercises with quality form and technique in order to prevent injury and ensure good movement at their joint capsules.

In conclusion, your body molds along the lines of the stress that you put it through.  Here at The Lab Training Center we make sure to stress the athlete’s muscle groups correctly in order to maximize their performance and prevent injury.  Every athlete is evaluated in order to correct dysfunctional movement and to strengthen weak muscle groups.  Being consistent with proper training programs will help ensure a successful and injury free sports career.