Stretching and mobility
It doesn’t matter if I’m working with Elite League players or the local under 12’s, there will be athletes on the team that are so lacking in mobility that I wonder how they perform on the ice as they do. Stretching and mobility is some of the easiest work that can be done in relation to strength and conditioning, and most players in the UK could greatly benefit from adding a hip mobility routine for ice hockey players to their program.
I am quite fortunate that when I was growing up, my parents were given the advice to put my brothers and I into gymnastics from an early age. I was a horrendous gymnast, far too big compared to the fast and nimble kids that went on to progress to higher levels. But the skills learned in coordination and mobility put me in a great position when I started playing ice hockey. Throughout my entire career I never had an adductor (groin) strain, despite it being one of the most common injuries amongst ice hockey players, and a common belief within the strength and conditioning world is injuries like this are completely avoidable if players are properly prepared via training.
The following static stretching routine primarily focuses on improving range of motion around the hip joint and the hamstrings, as those are the often the key areas where ice hockey players lack mobility. It is designed so it could be easily done at home daily with little space required, or it could be done as a team after practices or games. Performing the routine 2-4 times per week is recommended for a player seeking improvements in their hip and hamstring mobility.
Ham/Hamstring Mobility Routine
The routine is made up of six stretches, three from a seated position and three from a quadruped position (all-fours). Stretches should be held for 30 seconds per side, or 60 seconds if there is no need to swap sides.