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Core Stabilization that won’t Herniate Discs

Core Stabilization that won’t Herniate Discs
Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

I had a minor epiphany the other day – whammo!

During a conversation with a goalie I realized that there were still players out there who thought crunches were ‘core training.’ This individual also thought it they would give him a six-pack if he did enough reps for long enough – that is a myth to debunk another day.

Let’s just talk about the ‘core training’ stuff first.

The so-called ‘core’ is really another name for your torso – basically from your chest to your pelvis. It stabilizes to transfer forces generated by your legs and arms.

I have never played in the NHL, NFL nor been in a UFC Octagon, but I do have a pretty good idea that if I am lying on my back trying to curl up off the ground, that I am in big trouble.

I also know, after learning from Dr. Stuart McGill, that disc herniations are repetitive trauma injuries and repeated spinal flexion (crunches) is one of the mechanisms. So the old argument – ‘I have done them for years and my back feels fine’ is flawed logic.

It may feel fine until one day you bend over to pick up your t-shirt off the floor and – whammo – disc herniation.

Say goodbye to your next 1-2 hockey seasons (if you are lucky enough to return at all).

So, let me show you a few off-ice core stabilization drills  you can do without getting on the floor and without squeezing the daylights out of your lumbar discs.

I have put together a video (below) showing you how to do them, but the exercises are:

  • Neutral stance partner taps
  • Staggered stance partner taps
  • Neutral stance hockey stick taps
  • Staggered stance hockey stick taps

Typically we will do three sets of one or the other (hockey stick or none) with 10-20 taps each. We often use these drills as active recovery during our speed or stamina sessions, so the workout might look like this:

  • Speed drill
  • Neutral stance partner taps x 20
  • Speed drill
  • Right foot forward staggered stance partner taps x 20
  • Speed drill
  • Left foot forward staggered stance partner taps x 20

You can see these exercises demonstrated and explained more in this video:

Happy Training!


Dryland goalie trainer Maria Mountain

Hockey strength and conditioning coach Maria Mountain, MSc specializes in off-ice training for hockey goalies. As the founder of and the owner of Revolution Sport Conditioning in London, Ontario, Maria has trained Olympic Gold medalists, a Stanley Cup Champ and athletes from MLB, NHL, AHL, CHL, CIS and more.

You can get a FREE 14-Day Flexibility program for goalies HERE!

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