If you're stiff as a board, you're going to get checked hard into the boards. Warming up before you hit the ice can help you stay elastic and elusive. Here, Crash Conditioning president Doug Crashley provides a simple but effective way to loosen up.
"For a hockey player, flexibility allows you to have a full range of motion, whether it's following through on shot location, extending legs out in a stride or just prolonging your career by keeping injuries away," Crashley says.
Before lacing up their skates, Crash athletes—including Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green and Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Duncan Keith—perform an off-ice dynamic warm-up to get their blood flowing. "We used to just sit around in a circle and [perform] static stretches, but that puts a lot of stress on the joints and causes micro-tears, which [hinder] performance," says Crashley, who offers the following crash course for a mini dynamic warm-up.
• Begin with a light jog to loosen up your body
• Lunge 45-degrees with right leg, then progress into a side lunge; alternate lunge with left leg
• Continue warm-up by performing the Inchworm
• Bend over and touch toes while keeping legs straight
• Maintain leg position and slowly walk hands out in front of you, until you are in push-up position
• From push-up position, slowly "walk" feet up to hands until you're in an arched position
• Continue for 20 yards
Benefits: Incorporating the Inchworm into a dynamic warm-up strengthens and lengthens muscles, loosens the hamstrings, glutes and lower back and prevents muscle tears and pulls when you're on the ice.
Coaching Points: Make sure all muscles are going through a full range of motion // Do not strain during Inchworm // Don't take big steps with feet or hands
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock