As the NHL season approaches us and the summer has ended, all of our hockey athletes have finished up their testing and moved on out to their respective camps. It’s a good time for reflection to see where we made the most gains, what we accomplished, and where certain aspects of training could be improved next offseason.
One of the major goals we had this summer was to make sure all of our hockey programming focused on creating a balance of strength in the lower body to decrease the risk for adductor strains. The NHL launched a study in 2001 and concluded that “a player was 17 times more likely to sustain an adductor muscle strain if his adductor strength was less than 80% of his abductor strength”. To battle this, we addressed the issue by incorporating traditional body weight hip bridges with manually-resisted, active single leg hip adduction. Our athletes would hold a static single leg bridge and then actively squeeze against our manual resistance pulling the other leg into adduction from an abducted starting position.
The other exercise progression we used a lot of over the summer began with side planks that incorporated a scissor-stance with the legs - bottom leg being forward. From there athletes would adduct that bottom leg off the ground which really isolates adductor strength. We did various things to make the plank more difficult and added light external loads to the dynamic leg lifting off the ground - good stuff for our hockey guys and we believe this would be great for other sports like soccer and tennis where this is a big demand on adductor functioning as well.
So far so good! Everyone is healthy and flying around!
Jason Jerome, MSed, ATC, LAT, CPT