Stretching each day can improve blood flow and keep the muscles energized and loose. Besides, a good hockey stretching program will help to increases your range of motion, which will help to gain swiftness, agility and puck handling skills. Your skating speed is likely to improve, as stretching increases flexibility of the hips, groin, quads and hamstrings.
Regular practice of hockey stretches can help prevent injuries.
Ashley Hoffman, serving as current captain of the US Women’s National Hockey Team as primary position of defensive screen shares 5 Must-do Stretches to Avoid Injury in her interview on Women Fitness.
- Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. … Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
- Think of extending knees forward toward wall in front of you so you can lengthen hips.
- Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
World’s Greatest Stretch:
- Lunge forward with your right leg until the knee of your left leg is almost flat with the floor, then touch your hands to the floor to the left of (inside) your right leg.
- Maintaining your lunge, rotate your upper body while lifting your right arm up as if you’re trying to touch the sky. Lower your right arm back down to its original position (you can repeat the same with the left arm if you’d like).
- Next, lower your left knee to the ground while maintaining a straight posture (this helps stretch your quads and hip flexors).
- And lastly, extend your right leg while leaning back to shift your body weight, which helps stretch your calves and hamstring muscles.
- Make sure to hold each position for three-to-five seconds and move through the entire stretch at least three times on each side, alternating each time (a total of six times, three times on each side).
- From Downward Facing Dog, bring the right leg up into a Down Dog Split. Bend your right knee and bring that leg forward as if you were going to step into a lunge. Instead of placing your foot down as you would for a lunge, bring your right knee to the floor on the outside of your right hand.
- The right shin may angle back towards the left hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your flexibility. Release your left knee to your mat. Your left leg should be flat on the floor. Look backward and make sure that your left foot is pointing straight back.
- Square your hips towards the front of your mat. Take padding (a folded blanket works well) under the right side of your hip as necessary to make the pose more comfortable.
- Once stable, bring your torso down into a forward bend over your right leg. Let the weight of your body rest on your right leg. Place your forehead on the floor. Continue squaring your hips and breathing into any tightness.
- Come back up, bringing your hands in line with your hips. To release, curl your left toes under and step back into a Downward Facing Dog.
- Repeat the pose on the other side.
One Leg Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:
- Get in a kneeling lunge position with one knee on the floor and the other leg bent 90 degrees in front of you with foot flat. Place one hand on your hip.
- This is your starting position. Squeezing your back glutes, shift your body weight slightly forward while maintaining an upright torso. Reach around to grasp your foot with your free hand to increase the stretch.
- Hold the stretch position for 30-45 seconds at a time for a total of 2-5 repetitions; try to move into the stretch a little deeper with each repetition, but be sure to keep your core braced to not allow the pelvis to rotate and lose the stretch.
- Complete all repetitions on one side before alternating to the other hip.
- Lie flat on either the ground or a mat with the legs fully stretched out.
- To stretch the right leg, hold the back of the right knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward the chest, and slowly straighten the knee until it feels as though it is stretching.
- Hold the stretch for 10–30 seconds. Do 4-5 rounds and repeat with other leg.
Start working today towards a flexible body for higher performance in hockey.
Ashley Hoffman is also a member of the Become Uncommon team. Uncommon is a field hockey coaching group created and managed by three current U.S Women’s National Field Hockey Team players.