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At this point in your hockey training you should have addressed all of your compensations and alignment issues. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore these weak links altogether. They may need some attention whenever there is a change in the program or you feel a bilateral (or side to side) difference.

Consider the following.

At the start of the off-season you experienced some weakness with the external hip rotators on the right side. But with same lateral band walking, some clam shells, a little bit of foam rolling and some targeted stretching you were able to deal with this deficiency.

Now further on in the off-season you have increased the intensity of your workouts by adding more load to the bar. Or maybe you’ve upped the volume and are doing more total sets and reps. It could also be that you’ve been introduced to a new movement that is leaving you feeling tight and little sore.

As a result you may compensate and fall into your old habitual ways of moving and reignite some of the issues that were nagging you previously. It is therefore key to address right away.

The reasons to address this right away are that you’ll minimize the degree of compensation that the body experiences, you’ll minimize the unintentional stress placed on tissues as a result of the compensation, you’ll get more benefit out of your training and lastly you’ll train your body to know what a neutral and ideal position feels like as you’ll never venture too far away from the proper positioning.

So what do you do when you notice a compensation or discrepancy in movement?

The first thing you should do is mention this to your strength and conditioning coach. If they have the expertise to isolate the root cause of the issue, then then they can deal with it . If they don’t have a background in this area they can refer you to someone who does.

Next there should be some time spend attempting to address the cause of the deficiency. This may mean some isolated and focused exercises. Isolated exercises are fine at this point as long as they are reintroduced to the whole by the end.

With working sets we want to ensure quality of movement prior to increased load and volume until the mechanics are ideal.

Too often you’ll hear a hockey player express during a workout that something feels ‘alright’ or ‘not too bad’ regarding a movement. Everything should feel good and there should  be no tightness or restrictions on any kind. As soon as something doesn’t feel right or is different left and right, stop spend some time and address this.

So as you carry on with your hockey training pay attention to how your body feels, how the movements feel and what your range of motion is like. The best indicator of the quality of your tissue is your own feedback and the more attention you pay to these things the better job you’ll do at shoring up your weaknesses. And a body free of weaknesses and c0mpensations will outperform any other player who has them.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                               onsidehockeytraining.com

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