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Posts Tagged ‘hurdle step’

A couple of weekends ago we hosted the Okanagan Strength & Conditioning Conference.

This was an ambitious undertaking as we went out to bring in 5 of the top coaches and researchers in our industry to Kelowna for a few days. This was ambitious because there are fitness conferences in Canada already learning about Zumba insn’t going to help your on ice performance.

But learning from Sean Skahan probably will.

Sean’s the strength & conditioning coach for the Anaheim Ducks. He’s been with the team through a few different coaching changes, had nine players in the 2010 Olympics, three of which won gold for Canada. And he was with the team when they won a Stanley Cup in 2007.

So you could say Sean’s been around and worked with some successful hockey players.

Wouldn’t it be valuable to peak inside his training program? Wouldn’t you want to see what he considers important to the development of an NHL player? Wouldn’t it be helpful to ask him some questions as to what is working with him in his training?

Absolutely it would!

And Sean, like many top flight coaches, is a big proponent of the Functional Movement Screen. If you’re not familiar with the FMS don’t worry about it. It’s a tool used by coaches to screen movement patterns of players. From this screen the coach can then tell which movement patterns are deficient or unbalanced. And this then provides an appropriate starting point for helping offset potential injuries during the season.

The FMS involves 7 tests but I’m going to talk about one in particular which is the Hurdle Step.

This test looks at three things:

* stability of the stance leg

* hip mobility of the stride leg

* core stability

When scoring an FMS you can assign a score of 0 to 3 depending on the quality of the movement. A zero indicates pain when performing the movement and a 3 means the movement met all the desired criteria.

Sean mentioned that he believes hockey players need a 3 on the FMS in this test. This is because the test challenges the stride mechanics. And striding is an integral part of the game of hockey. It also provides feedback on the coordination and stability of the hips and torso. Lastly it is a test performed on a single leg which is sport specific to hockey.

When looking at the hockey player performing the Hurdle Step we want to look for a number of things.

1. Stability of Stance Leg

One of the aspects of the Hurdle Step is that we want to assess the stability of the stance leg. Are the toes and knee pointed forward? Are the pelvis and hip neutral? Are they balanced on this stance leg or wavering?

If they are scoring less than a 3 it may be due to a weakness of the muscles providing the base. Think of your hip abductors such as glute medius. Sean mentioned he likes to use side lying leg lifts to activate this muscle group.

2. Mobility of Stride Leg

While one leg is supporting the body the other knee lifts the leg up and over the hurdle. A common issue for hockey players is psoas weakness.

With this test you want to make sure lifting the knee is not accompanied by lumbar flexion. In other words in order to get the knee up the low back should not round.

3. Core Stability

You can think of core stability as the ability to maintain proper alignment in the presence of movement. In this case the movement would be the lifting of the stride leg. Does the body dip towards the side of the unsupported leg? Does the hockey player get shorter when they lift one leg off the ground? If they had lasers coming out of their hips would the laser light move when the leg lifts?

There are a number of ways to assess core stability on this test. Use the previous cues if you like. The key is to be able to generate movement in the extremities without moving the rest of the body.

In our hockey training program, Premier Hockey Training, we give you a cheat sheet to be able to correct any of the movement dysfunctions you may have. Give it a try and see the impact in has on your ability to stay healthy and play at your highest level.

Here’s  a look at the cheat sheet I put together in Premier Hockey Training.

Corrective Exercise Treatment Table ‘Cheat Sheet’ (sample)

Compensatory   movement Tight/over active muscles Weak/under active muscles Treatment
1. Foot   turns out – externally rotates in anterior view
Calf complex:  gastrocnemius,
peroneals, soleus

 

Gluteus medius, gluteus
maximus, medial hamstring
(posterior tibialis)

 

SMR (foam roll) calf complex,
static stretch calf complex,
lateral band walking

 

2. Knee   moves inward – adducts
Adductor complex: (peroneals,
lateral gastrocnemius)

 

Gluteus medius and gluteus
maximus (posterior tibialis)

 

SMR adductor complex, calf
complex, lateral band walking, supine     bridging

 

7.   Upper body – arms fall forward
Latissimus dorsi, pectoral
major and minor

 

Mid-lower trapezius,
rhomboids

 

SMR back and lats, foam roll
on length of spine with arms
outside, pull overs, prone cobra

 

Pick up a copy to get your own cheat sheet for correcting your movement dysfunctions.

Chris                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              onsidehockeytraining.com