Tips on Stretching and Strengthening

Stretching Exercises
By stretching the muscles around the trunk and other parts, it will allow for a greater range of motion. This is vital to hockey players for hitting and slap shots. An increased range of motion will cause the muscles to work more efficiently and improve skating mechanics. All stretches should be done everyday, so that they become part of your daily routine. Stretches should be done at least 15-20 minutes before playing a game or practice.

A warm up will consist of a light 5-minute jog or stationary bike. Static stretching is recommended where the muscle is stretched slowly for 20-30 seconds. Repeat each stretch at least 2-3 times per limb for proper muscular balance. There should be no bouncing as this can inadvertently cause small tears within the muscles. Hockey takes a lot of power to play and doing so accurately or repetitively requires a certain amount strength and endurance. Strengthening exercises are designed to help your overall game from power to speed, while avoiding repetitive injuries. All strengthening exercises should be done 3-4 times per week.

The stretches should be performed first. Use a minimal amount of weight to start with high repetitions, since our goal is to build tone and conditioning, not muscle bulk at first. Initially, all exercises should be performed with one set of 10 repetitions. Then as your strength increases you can add a second and third set. Once you are able to complete three sets without difficulty, you can add additional weight or more repetitions. Remember to work each side equally, and get a proper balance between the musculature Do NOT use weights under the age of 14 unless you are under the direct supervision of a trained professional. A vast amount of injuries can occur this way if the athlete is not careful.

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