Posts Tagged ‘core function’

If there’s one thing I seek to apply to every hockey training program regardless the goal, level or phase of the training program it’s to make the training as efficient as possible. You see all training is cumulative meaning what you do during one workout affects the subsequent workout. Gone are the days of marathon workouts and the ‘more is better’ attitude. Instead we want to be a little bit smarter with our training so that our efforts during training don’t compromise our ability to recover after.

One way we ensure that we will recover optimally is by learning what our work capacity is. What are the various thresholds to the different training stimuli? Knowing these and staying just ‘under the radar’ allows for the best possible scenario in terms of the most return of improvement related to investment made.

But there is one other strategy we utilize with our hockey players that has proven extremely beneficial in terms of achieving the desired outcome without extra investment in training. The strategy is to use the test as the drill. I’ll explain what this means below.

One of the assessments we use when meeting with a hockey player for the first time is to determine the rotation around various joints. For example popular bodybuilding programs include a disproportionate amount of exercises that internally rotate the shoulder. How does this happen? Well imagine as part of a workout performing bench presses, cable cross overs and flys?

Over time we’ll see the shoulder become pulled forward and internally rotated. This results in poor postural alignment, impaired core function and increases the likelihood for injury.

As the shoulder becomes tighter with respect to internal rotation the ability to reach up behind the back is decreased.

Now that we know what the limitation is we also know what the fix should be. The answer involves positioning the right arm, as in the picture, to the end range behind the back as positioned. Next place the left hand on right wrist and press down gently with the right arm. The left arm should resist this pressure.

As you press down with the right arm remember to keep a few points in mind. The first is to ensure as close to perfect posture as possible. Sit with the head tall, the chest up and the shoulders down and back. Breath  normally through the diaphragm rather than by lifting the chest and shoulders on each breath. Perform 3 or 4 reps on each side with a gentle 10 second hold. There should be no discomfort at all when performing the exercise.

Use this exercise during your warm-up to improve the external rotation of your shoulders. Put the emphasis on the side with the greater deficiency. So if the right arm is significantly tighter than the left start with the right and work to balance it out with the left. Continue as long as their is a deficiency or more importantly there is a difference between the left and right sides of the body.

This is just one example of how the assessment can become the drill. Stay tuned for future examples of determining your weak links, how to use that same test as an exercise and to improve your hockey performance as a result.