When you mention dryland training to a hockey player the first thing that comes to mind is leg training. And if it’s not leg training it’s core training. Which in an upcoming post I’ll show you can be accomplished at the same time. But for now we’ll stick to the discussion that leg training forms the foundation of training for hockey. And it makes sense. Because the game is played from a position on the feet with force being generated into the ground.

So this should eliminate a lot of the leg exercises that take you off your feet. A few examples come to mind such as:

* a seated leg curl

* a prone hamstring curl

* a seated leg extension

* and seated adductor or abductor machines

So what’s the big deal with these exercises? Lots of things actually. Below are The Top 15 Reasons to Dump Machines from Your Hockey Leg Training. Let’s get to it.

1. Well for starters as we mentioned you are in the seated position. So you don’t have to fire your core to stabilize your trunk and upper body as the bench and pad of the machine is doing this for you. Compare this an overhead squat and there is a tremendous requirement for the core to stabilize the trunk and allow the hockey player to reach full squat depth.

evidence of glute development…maybe not for hockey though

2.  When you’re sitting on your butt you’re glutes are in a lengthened position which leads to weakness of this muscle group. Groins pulls and strains are a very common injury in hockey. Many of these injuries to the hip and groin could be prevented with proper attention to strengthening the glutes and working on hip mobility. This just isn’t possible with machine based leg training.

3. You aren’t challenging your proprioceptors as balance is not a concern on these machines. Hockey is a game played on a slippery surface where your opponent is trying to knock you on your a&%. You won’t challenge and develop your proprioceptors by sitting on your butt and not developing your balance skills.

4. You are restricted to a predetermined path of the machine rather than the unique and natural movement of your body. If you have a lower body injury how is that injury going to feel if you follow the exact same path through that injury spot repeatedly? There is some benefit to allowing the body to take a slightly different path at times.

5. There  is no interplay and communication between the ankle and the lower extremities. When you perform a squat from a standing position the ankle dorsiflexes, the knee flexes and the hip flexes. When you return to the starting position the ankle plantar flexes, the knee extends and the hip extends.

When you are seated on a leg curl machine the foot is free to do whatever it wants. You can curl the weight with a plantar or dorsiflexed ankle. And the hip remains flexed throughout the exercise. So while normal standing leg squats dictate a pre-determined sequence and chain reaction of joint interactions, seated leg exercises defy this relationship between neighbouring joints. Do you think this creates dysfunction? Could this possibly increase the potential for injury?

Stay tuned for Parts II and III of The Top 15 Reasons to Dump Machines from Your Hockey Leg Training.


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