The general wear and tear of a hockey season often leaves players broken down and sore. To counter the stress of repetitive skating, shot blocking and body contact, hockey players should make foam rolling part of their everyday routine.
Foam rolling—also known as self-myofascial release (SMR)—involves rolling a foam cylinder over a muscle group to achieve effects similar to a sports massage. It is a great way to alleviate sore, tight or painful muscles, while also increasing flexibility and mobility to make you a faster and more powerful skater.
Follow these guidelines and perform the prescribed exercises before and after your skate. If you're a hockey goalie, check out these three foam rolling exercises just for you.
- Foam rolling should not replace normal stretching routines, but should be used in conjunction with dynamic warm-ups and cooldown stretches.
- Start by rolling the areas that are most sore. Once tenderness is identified, continue to foam roll on the spot for eight to 12 slow and long passes over the full length of the muscle.
- Once tenderness has subsided (might take several weeks of foam rolling), progress to using a lacrosse ball or a softball to continue breaking up any lingering tightness in muscles.