If you’re a hockey player, chances are you have heard this mantra from hockey fitness experts: “Work your core. Work your core. Work your core.”
And if you’re a recreational hockey player, chances are you’ve thought to yourself, “Be quiet and just let me play. I just want to play once or twice a week, and hang out with friends.”
But there is a connection. Those experts aren’t just telling you to exercise your core for your health. Here are some tips, advice and explanations s that could convince you why working your core could make you a better hockey player. It is extremely valuable for junior players as it is for older masters’ players. Junior players are still growing physically while masters’ players are trying to counteract the decline in body strength.
What is our core?
The core muscles lie deep in the upper body. They are usually attached to the spine, pelvis and the muscles that support the shoulder blade. When the core muscles contract, they create a solid base of support for the body. A strong core provides support for your spine so you walk, jog, run, hit a ball with power, be strong in a tackle and much more. A weak core will lead to bad posture, lower back pain and ultimately injury.
Training the core muscles will also correct posture imbalances that can potentially injure a hockey player.
What is the difference between core strength and core stability?
Core stability can be understood as the ability of the core to resist an unwanted movement (e.g., when tackling). Core strength can be identified as the amount of force the core can produce to perform a desired movement (e.g., hitting). These can clearly be seen as two totally different functions, yet they are both totally interdependent on the other
What are the benefits of improving your core?
- Increased Strength:
Increased strength as a result of core stability workouts is one of the main benefits. With this comes the decrease in the risk of injury since stronger muscles are less prone to jarring and failure to external forces.
- Increased Coordination:
Increased coordination is another great benefit you achieve. This coordination allows you to perform movements with greater ease and fluidity. As your muscles learn to work in synch with each other, your actions become more efficient.
- Increased Stability/Balance:
Increased stability and balance are an important attribute you gain from doing these types of workouts. This helps a great deal with performance since you will be better able to keep your body in a homeostatic position. For example a hockey player with good stability/balance is better able to keep on her feet when in a possible body contact position during a tackle.
- Decreased Chance Of Injury:
A stable core is one that supports injury prevention. Imagine a full back being smoked by a running forward who changes direction and collision is inevitable. What supports his bones, joints, and ligaments in his core? It’s a stable, steady, balanced core that is resistant to the forces put upon it.
- Increased Performance:
A stable core increases your performance because you are able to keep your balance through certain movements. It also contributes to power in the execution of skills. Successful drag flickers exhibit strong characteristics of good core strength and stability to go hand in hand with great technique.
Also do corner hitters. When you hit the ball, the power behind her swing starts from the legs. The power than transfers up through her abdominals/back (The core muscles) and to her arms for the swing. Now think of how her swing would be affected if she had a weak core. The power from his legs would not have transferred to her arms and her swing would have been weaker.
How to test your core
How long can you hold in a plank position? The longer obviously translates to a strong core
This is what you are testing
How did you score?
Ways of training your core
There are many ways to train your core without and with equipment. The following are exercise you can implement in your own personal training time or at hockey specific fitness training.
Workout with equipment