Hockey players are some of the best athletes in the world. During a shift, they must simultaneously use their power, strength, endurance and coordination. But because of the nature of skating, most hockey players suffer from anterior pelvic tilt. The condition has reached epidemic proportions.
Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by the flexed-hip position of skating, sitting on the bench or sitting in class. The hip flexors tighten and overdevelop, resulting in a forward pelvic tilt. (Watch Thomas Vanek strengthen his hip flexors.)
The problem can be easily addressed; however, it often goes unnoticed and untreated. In the early stages, it doesn’t cause much discomfort and most players ignore it, because they believe complaining about it will make them seem “soft.” But anterior pelvic tilt can lead to performance issues and debilitating injuries.
Anterior pelvic tilt alters the natural skating range of motion, placing greater stress on the hip flexors, groin and piriformis. Also, the glutes, hamstrings and quads may weaken, increasing the risk of a muscle pull or tear that can keep a player off the ice for four to six weeks. (Do this exercise to reduce anterior pelvic tilt.)
Fortunately, the problem is fairly easy to fix if you are proactive. You must regularly release tight muscles, especially your hip flexors, and strengthen your low back, quads and glutes to bring the hips into a posterior position.
If you play hockey, start correcting your anterior pelvic tilt as soon as possible. Perform the Glute Bridge exercise at the beginning of every workout. It strengthens your backside while stretching tight muscles on the front of your hips.
- Lie with your back on ground, knees at 90 degrees and heels on the ground
- Place your arms out to your sides with your palms facing the ceiling to form a “T” with your upper body
- Raise your hips toward the ceiling into a bridge position
- Only your feet and shoulder blades should be touching the ground
- Hold for three seconds, keeping a straight line from your knees to your shoulders