Say it three times fast: “Happy Hockey Hips,” “Happy Hockey Hips,” “Happy Hock…” – Just kidding, but you were going to do it right? 😁
It’s about that time of year; playoffs are approaching, snow is falling, and hip flexors and groins are pulling *record scratch* …
Yup, that’s right. As we approach the back half of the hockey seasons, this is the time when all of the work in the gym starts to pay off and you can elevate while others drop off. However, none of it matters if you can stay on the ice. And if you haven’t been in the gym, it’s not too late to get started, in fact, DO!
Due to the aggressive and repetitive nature of the skating stride, and the specific mechanics, hockey players are especially prone to issues with their hips and groin. But never fear, I’ve got three steps for you to ensure you have Happy Hockey Hips!
Step 1: Open Up
In the old days this would be “stretch”. However, we see far more lasting results from a combination of dynamic movements, foam rollers, massage balls and partner/band PNF to gain range of motion needed for training and play. In the video above Kevin is showing the “half-kneeling adductor” and “banded couch.”
5 Movements, 1 set each for 10-15 reps
Step 2: Mobilize/Activate
Once we’ve gained the range of motion we desire, now is time to activate the muscles which are integral to supporting the hip, while taking them through the new found ranges. Here we see Kevin doing what I call the “Happy Hips” sequence which focuses on core stability and posture, through internal and external hip rotation, as well as, flexion and extension.
3 Movements, 3 sets each for 10-15 reps
Step 3: Strengthen
Finally, strong musculature of the lower body is critical to keeping those Hockey Hips Happy. First and foremost SQUAT! I don’t care if it’s front, back, goblet or body weight. Do whichever one you feel most comfortable with. Not sure how? Find a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in your area. After that we see Kevin doing a lateral squat with his foot elevated and *very important* cable adductions. The return of the leg into the body is often overlooked, but we need to balance out the push power by working on the recovery to keep the “groin” happy!
3-4 Movements, 2-3 sets each for 6-10 reps
Do these three things, three times a week and keep those Happy Hockey Hips!
*Note, these are generalized categories. The specific movements can change from athlete to athlete. And if you are not sure where to start, find a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) to point you in the right direction.
Big thanks to Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s for his demos. You can follow along with Kevin’s path to the 2018 NHL Draft on NHL.COM Kevin Bahl’s Draft Diary