Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

The butterfly stretch is so common that I think a lot of strength coaches (myself included) have discounted it for some time. In retrospect, I think we are entirely to blame because we let our athletes do it as a passive stretch with very poor form.

What I want to share with you today is a new approach for the butterfly stretch based on concepts that I learned from Dr. Andreo Spina as part of his Functional Range Conditioning program.

Basically, the approach is to not only improve the range of motion.

Having great range of motion sitting on your living room floor does not necessarily mean you will have awesome “mobility” on the ice. Some of you are probably frustrated by that very thing: You find that you work on stretching and see improvements at home, but once you get on the ice, it is nowhere to be found.

So the idea here is to generate muscular tension at the limits of your range to essentially re-program your brain so it will relax the protective contraction that keeps you out of those ranges in a functional situation.

I also really like this application to the butterfly stretch because I think it gives good muscle activation of the external hip rotators, which can get a little lazy in some goalies.

So here’s how you do it – but let me warn you know, this ain’t your momma’s stretching routine.

This will actually probably get you sweating a bit:

• Get into your butterfly stretch position – stay long in your torso – do not round your back to bring your chest toward your feet, stay tall and hinge at your hips. Hold a strong stretch for 60 seconds.

• Now use the muscles on the outsides of your hips to “pull” your knees down toward the floor. Gradually build up to max tension – this should be hard. You should not feel pinching in your hips, if you do, then stop. Pull for 30 seconds (the video below says 10-20s, but I want you to do 30).

• Do not let your knees pop back up at the end of your “pull” phase. Instead use your elbows or hands to block the end position and then “push” your knees up into your hands. Again build up to max tension over 30 seconds (the video says 10-20s, but again, I want you to do 30).

• Do not let your knees pop back up, but relax your “pushing” contraction and just hold this end position for 60 seconds. You can use your hands or elbows to help you hold that position.

Whew, that’s it.

Happy stretching gang!


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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One Response to New Approach to Butterfly Stretch (with video)

  1. Dale Wilker says:

    Is it recommended that this is a just before the game stretch, just after the game stretch, non game day stretch, or all of the above?

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