Ergogenic aids may directly influence the physiological capacity of a particular body system thereby improving performance, remove psychological constraints which impact performance and increase the speed of recovery from training and competition.
For many hockey players game preparation and post game recovery may or may not be a priority routine unless you are an elite player. However to give it little attention at all may be robbing you of performing at your best. Certainly for ageing hockey players who love their game it should become more of a priority for both injury prevention and performance enhancement. In today’s world of sport / exercise physiology there are ergogenic aids that can help hockey players in pre and post game/training phases.
In this article we propose that hockey players of all ages and abilities might consider the use of the following ergogenic aid for their respective physiological values. They make up an ideal kit to keep on hand. They are not too bulky except perhaps the roller to take to a game. These are;
- Stretch Band
Active isolated stretching (AIS) will help you bolster your flexibility and retain the gains you’ve made. In AIS, you don’t hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds as you would in traditional stretching. Instead, you use a rope or stretch band to gently assist in pulling your muscle a little farther than your body would ordinarily allow. This form of stretching reprograms your brain and your body to remember new ranges of motion, so you see fast improvements in flexibility.
Mentally you’ve conditioned yourself to believe you can stretch only to a certain point. And most often, you’ve determined that point because you’re weak in a given area or you lack focus. With AIS, you’re reprogramming your brain, along with any preconceived notions about your flexibility.
For example, say you’re doing a hamstring stretch. You’re lying on your back with a rope wrapped around one leg. First, you squeeze your quadriceps, hip flexors, and abs. As you squeeze, they contract, and your brain sends a message to your hamstrings telling them to relax. That enables you to gently assist with the rope to pull your hamstrings into a slightly deeper stretch, and it helps to reprogram your brain to recognize that new range of motion.
Since your quadriceps and hip flexors are doing the work, your brain is sending signals to your quadriceps, shutting off the signals to your hamstrings, which want to resist. In a sense, you’re tricking your body, and you’re constantly reprogramming it.
Everything begins at the feet and therefore needs to be attended to. Just ask a podiatrist. Most people think of only one arch in each foot, but there are actually three. The lateral (outside), transverse (centre), and medial (inside) arches all work together to spring load your feet, which increases strength, balance, and power when functioning properly. It is important you roll your arches out properly – in the correct order – or you risk making your problems worse.
To do this activity place a tennis ball under your bare foot while standing then begin to roll the ball under your feet. For an alternative to a tennis ball use a foot roller ball or roller.
While there are many reasons to incorporate foam rolling into your fitness routine, let’s briefly look at five.
- Improved flexibility and increased joint range of motion
For years, stretching was the standard method to decrease muscle tightness and improve flexibility prior to either working out or performing a sport. Newer research, however, shows foam roller exercises before an activity can lead to an increase in flexibility.
- Better circulation
Because blood carries oxygen throughout the body, good circulation becomes crucial to overall health. Among other reasons, a decrease in our circulation can lead to a whole host of problems like numbness in our limbs, impaired cognitive ability (the ability to think clearly!) and a weak immune. Myofascial release can help improve circulation by breaking up the tight areas where blood flow may become restricted.
- Stress reduction
Foam roller exercises can help reduce post-game. One study found myofascial release can lower cortisol, your stress hormone that you want to seriously dial down after a strenuous game.
- Reduce exercise-related soreness
Whether you are an experienced athlete or a weekend warrior, you’ve probably experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Simply put, DOMS is the pain and stiffness in your muscles that can typically set in anywhere from 24–48 hours after an intense workout.
However, research finds foam rolling can substantially reduce the chances of that soreness creeping in so that you don’t spend the day after your first cycling class stuck on the couch wondering why your legs hate you so much.
- Prevent injury
Treating an injury becomes much easier when you avoid it in the first place. Oftentimes a consistent routine of proper stretching techniques combined with foam roller exercises can prevent many injuries associated with tightness and overuse.
TRIGGER POINT RELEASE TOOL
Using a specially designed trigger release tool to remove any trigger point, the tool removes knots found in muscles that deter full range of motion, can increase the chance of injury and cause that tightness feeling. You need to apply it to the trigger areas by locating the sore points and place the trigger tool on it, then place some pressure on the tool (e.g., body weight) for a bearable time duration.
Whether you do these at home prior to going to a game or when you get home after a game or training you will only benefit by the results.