Adam Francilia works with some of the best goalies in the game and today the San Jose Sharks consultant returns with another position-specific exercise designed to help you become a better goaltender. The Swiss Ball Groin Buster has important strengthening components but also emphasizes muscle-firing patterns and biomechanics we employ on the ice.

Working with Francilia, we’re continuously impressed by his ability to watch a goalie on the ice and diagnose biomechanical issues that can be improved with targeted work in the gym. That work is as much about training the correct movement patterns as it is about building strength, and it’s something you’ll recognize in the Swiss Ball Groin Buster video below.

This exercise is designed to work on your adductor muscles — the muscles that move the lower legs back together after being extended out — also known more commonly as your groin muscles. In addition to strengthening them, it will reinforce correct firing patterns while building strength and stability at the end range of motion, where we are most likely to be injured. End range strength was also a theme in New Jersey Devils Director of Performance Science Devan McConnell’s daily warm up routine presented for InGoal Members.

We encourage you to watch the entire video to the end before attempting the exercise as there are key points throughout, including proper pelvis and spine alignment, which are crucial to proper execution of the movement, towards the end. After, feel free to watch it again, pausing in key areas to ensure you master the correct technique.

As we have mentioned before with on-ice movement drills, do not rush through the drill. It is not about speed or volume and trying to work harder than the next goalie. It is about working smarter. Correct movement in this drill will translate into better movement on the ice which will help you become a better goaltender.

Some keys Francillia points out in the drill that you can watch for:

  • make sure you are working with the correct size ball, one that will allow you to maintain neutral hips when kneeling with one knee on the ball. If the ball is too big or too small, it will alter the mechanics of the hip and pelvis.
  • place the knee on the inside edge of the ball to allow room to roll it out correctly.
  • you should be “strong and anchored” to the ball, heavy on the ball-side knee.
  • As you roll the ball outwards in the drill ensure your torso moves over the ball side leg and back. Stay over top of the working leg with no shoulder or arm correction.
  • Find a few more degrees of motion with each rep — there’s no rush to get out there, though. Have patience and focus on good form.
  • Once you get out to your end of range stay loaded there and then pull both your knees back into position at the beginning of the exercise.
  • Later, as you develop control and range of motion you can add to the exercise and increase the load by incorporating the hands, again focusing on proper movement with both the hands and with the head as you track a puck.

One key point you’ll have to wait until the later part of the video to see from the side is the correct neutral pelvis. This position rotates your pelvis under you and gives a “c-shape” to your spine and pelvis. This is a key teaching point that comes up in a number of Francillia’s exercises and one we will explore in more depth with him in a future video. Suffice it to say for now, this position frees you up for more mobility in a number of situations versus sticking your butt out or rotating your pelvis forward, which has the opposite effect.

This exercise can be incorporated into your regular training twice a week doing 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each leg.


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