Complete Hockey Warm-up
It’s crucial to get your body warmed up and moving before you get on the ice, to reduce the risk of injury and prepare your muscles for playing. It also helps you prepare mentally allowing you to get "in the zone" before you get out there. A complete warm-up is a key factor for success at any level of competition.
Flexibility and mobility are key areas for hockey players to focus on during a warm-up. Plus, you should also replicate some of the movements you’ll be utilising during the game to prepare your muscles. Specific dynamic exercises will help you reach a greater range of motion and allow you to perform optimally on the ice.
Choose a warm up that can be done in a small space and incorporates a variety of muscle groups. That way, even if you are forced to warm up in the dressing room, on the cold and dirty floor, you’ll still be fully prepared. You can also practise these exercises at home in a small space before you perform any other intense physical activity.
Complete every exercise in this sequence for 20 seconds, unless specified reps.
The ankle hop is a calisthenics and plyometrics exercise that targets the calves, and to a lesser degree, the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise up on your toes.
Step 2: Jump 3-6 inches off the ground and as soon as you land jump back up again.
Step 3: Keep your legs straight as you jump and don't let your heels touch the ground.
March on the spot
This will work your calves and legs, open the chest and arms, and strengthen the abdominals.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms by your side
Step 2: Starting with the left leg, lift your knee, then your ankle, then your heel, then your toes. Lifting the toes 2-3 inches from the floor is sufficient – do not raise the knee more than waist height.
Step 3: Swing the right arm forward, and the left arm backward. Keep the upper body straight and keep control of the arms.
This exercise mainly focuses on the Quadriceps, but also warm ups the Calves, Glutes and Hamstrings.
Step 1: Stand with feet together, knees slightly bent, and arms to sides.
Step 2: Jump while raising arms and separating legs to sides. Land on forefoot with legs apart and arms overhead.
Step 3: Jump again while lower arms and returning legs to midline. Land on forefoot with arms and legs in original position and repeat.
A simple activity to get blood flowing around the body.
Step 1: Stand up straight, feet hip width apart. Swing arms right to left, then switch to left to right
Loosens the hips to allow for a greater range of motion and flexibility.
Step 1: Put your hands on your hips, bend your legs a little and sink your weight down into them.
Step 2: Keep your back straight. Look ahead or at the ground in front of you.
Step 3: Start to slowly move your hips and pelvis around in small circles.
Reverse Lunges – 10 each side
Mainly works the quadriceps, but also focuses on balance and coordination.
Step 1: Stand up with your hands on your hips or hanging at your sides. Look directly forward, keeping your chest up, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Initiate the movement by taking a step backwards, allowing your hips and knees to flex to lower your body. Contacting the back leg through only the ball of the foot, lower yourself until your knee nearly touches the ground. The knee should stay in line with the foot, and the spine should remain neutral.
Step 3: After a brief pause, return to the starting position by driving through the heel of the front leg to extend the knees and hips.
Inch worm to push up – 8 reps
This exercise works the shoulders, arms and back.
Step 1: Start standing and create some room in front of you. Hinge forward at the hips and place your hands on the floor.
Step 2: With straight legs walk your hands out to a plank position and perform a push-up.
Step 3: Walk your straight legs to your hands by peddling your feet forward and slowly bring yourself back to standing position.
There you have it, a simple ice hockey warm-up routine. Perform this sequence before you hit the ice to improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Steve Wyatt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Lead Programme Developer at Amaven. He has coached many British athletes to improve their performance and ensure they stay injury free.