University of Minnesota strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz trains the Golden Gophers hockey team to be “bulletproof.” Not a bad analogy for a game where players sacrifice their bodies to block 90 mph slap shots. The bulletproofing Dietz speaks of, though, results from conditioning the body during the off-season to prevent non-contact injuries such as groin and hamstring pulls.
Injury prevention is a priority for Dietz, who claims the Golden Gophers haven’t lost a player to a groin injury in five years.
Before you get into the grind of the season, try working these exercises into your routine. They might keep you on the ice and out of the trainer’s room.
90 90 Groin Isolation Hold
• Bend knee at 90-degree angle and hold upper leg parallel to ground
• Place pad between knee and wall
• Hold groin in stretch position against wall and apply force
• Keep hip open
Sets/Reps: 3-4 sets for 6-12 seconds; rotate legs
Coaching Point: Apply stress to make the groin used to range of motion
Nordic Hamstring Curls
• Start by kneeling with partner holding your ankles firmly to the ground
• Slowly lean forward until chest is close to ground
• Explode upward, using arms to push back to starting position
• Maintain good posture throughout exercise
Sets/Reps/Rest: 3/6/60 seconds
Coaching Points: Hold position // Don’t fall forward
Ankle Band Work
• Wrap resistance band around shoe (over toes)
• Pull on one side and resist with ankle
• Do resistance in both directions
• Stay seated; maintain good posture
Coaching Points: Get full range of motion // Add tension to increase ankle strength