Change the Way You Warm Up
Written by Dan Minnicks
The days of jogging around the rink before a game or getting some stretches on the ice during warm ups are over. Warm up your body the right way using the options listed below and you’ll feel like you want to run through a wall come game time. Go through each of these once before your workout, practice or game or do these on off days as well to help keep your mobility and flexibility.
Focus on deep breaths and long exhales during this one. Do 3-5 breaths each side. Does one side feel easier than the other?
Squat to Stand with Rotation
Grip your toes to really help pull yourself down into a deep squat. Inhale at the bottom and exhale as you rotate to each side. Keep your back flat and your chest facing forward. Do 5 reps each side.
Half Kneeling Groin Dips
As hockey players it’s crucial to keep the groin primed and ready. In this drill, the key is to keep your hips square and not rotating toward the outturned leg. I like to use my forearm against the inside of my knee to help twist my hips forward and also giving even more of a groin stretch. Do 10 reps each side.
Wall T Spine Extension
With your hands against a wall, car, railing, etc, push yourself away and sit back into your hips as you fully exhale. The goal is to feel your hamstrings stretch as well as your upper back as you aim to bring your chest towards the floor. Once you fully exhale come back up to the start position. Take your times and manage your breaths. Do 10 reps.
This can be done stationary or walking. If you’re walking, make sure you step and stretch and not take too many steps in between stretches. Bring your heel to your butt and once you feel a nice stretch, let go before alternating to the next leg. Do 10 reps per leg.
If reaching your arms out in front of you is too difficult, just keep them underneath you like a pushup position. The main focus should be keeping your legs straight the whole time and not how close you can bring your feet to your hands. You want to take your time with this one and really feel those hamstrings and calves getting some work.
For pogo jumps, you want to try and keep your legs as straight as possible the whole time, only generating power from below the knees. Stay on the balls of your feet and jump as high as possible each time. Be springy! Do 20 jumps.
When you bring your foot up by your hand, you want to drive the heel of that foot into the ground and sit into it for a second while keeping the back leg as straight as possible. Once you feel the stretch, bring your foot back and repeat on the other side. Do 5 reps each leg.
These warm up drills may feel tough at first, but through consistent repetition they will become easier and a staple in your warm up routine. Whether it’s a off ice workout, practice, or game, it is crucial to make sure you’re body is primed and ready to go!
Dan Minnicks has worked with hockey players at all levels from youth to the NHL. Dan also works with a variety of athletes of all ages including Adult National Figure Skaters and competitive endurance athletes. Dan’s clients also include a wide range of the general population plus law enforcement, SWAT, and members of the United States Military, including the Army, Navy, and Naval Special Warfare.