Get out of Flexibility Rut with NEW Active Stretches
There are two common mistakes I see in goalies who fail to develop the mobility required to take their game to the next level:
1) The goalie does not stretch consistently.
2) The goalie consistently does the exact same stretches they have been doing year after year.
The solution to the first problem is fairly straight-forward – start stretching you lazy puckstopper!
The solution to the second problem I have for you today.
Isn’t the definition of insanity something like ‘doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result?’ Maybe your flexibility program gave you a wider butterfly and the ability to make the occasional kick-save without any of the nasty groin tweaks you had in the past.
You are loyal to it, because it has helped you get to where you are.
Loyalty is awesome, but let’s just energize it a little with these new active goalie stretches.
So watch this video first to see what each exercise is and how to do it, and then I will explain why it is important for you and how many reps to incorporate into your mobility program:
Active Lat Stretch
If the lats are overly tight you will hyperextend through your lumbar spine when raising your arms overhead and you will be constantly battling the tightness as you labour to keep your chest up in your ready position.
~ Do five to 10 repetitions of a five-second hold. Do not let your back arch.
Active Hamstring Stretch
This is likely just a variation of a stretch you already do. The key is adding the active contraction of the antagonistic muscle group (the quadriceps and hip flexors). What this should do is cause a reflex relaxation in the muscles we are trying to stretch and allow for more flexibility.
~ Do five to eight repetitions of a three-second active pull and a five-second assisted stretch.
You have heard me talk about generating tension at the end of range to improve the amount of usable flexibility (or mobility) you will have on the ice.
This goalie stretch is specifically for that.
I know not all of you can do the splits, but many of you who can do the splits in the living room, can’t get even close when you are on the ice. That is because you have the flexibility (the range of motion) but not the control through that range (mobility). This drill will improve that.
~ Do five repetitions – lower for five to 10 seconds per rep. Use your arms to help.
Standing Knee Circles
You will be shocked at how hard this one is. Consider it a ‘rotator cuff’ exercise for your hip – trying to work on the endurance and coordination of all the deep muscles that control the head of the femur in the acetabulum (socket of the hip joint).
Like all of your hip movements, it is okay if it feels tight, but you should not be experiencing any pain or pinching on the closing side of the joint.
~ Do five to eight each direction on each leg. Go very slowly and generate tension.
Side-Lying T-Spine Mobility
Slouching during the day, slouching in your ready position, slouching at night … these will all contribute to tight lats (see the first stretch in this series) and a stiff thoracic spine.
When we smash our thoracic vertebrae together we limit the rotation through those segments, so we take up the slack by becoming hypermobile in the lumbar spine.
Over time something will wear out – like driving your car with bad alignment, you can still keep driving, but you are unknowingly wearing out vital parts like your tires.
~ Do five to eight repetitions on each side. Do not force the range of motion.
So now you have five new active flexibility exercises to help spice up your routine and get your body making some positive adaptations again. You can do this entire routine as an alternate flexibility program on its own or you can sprinkle the new exercises into your current routine. I will leave that up to you.
Hockey strength and conditioning coach Maria Mountain, MSc specializes in off-ice training for hockey goalies. As the founder of www.GoalieTrainingPro.com 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!