SST Q&A- Short Hockey Stride

Question:  My 14 year old son is a good hockey player, but as he is getting older, his skating strides are becoming short.  Why would this be? And how can he improve his stride?

Answer: This is a good question.  I have been around the rinks for about 20 years now, and that is something I notice a lot of in young hockey players. A short skating stride can come from a number of things.

First thing, take notes:  What is the position of his upper body? Which way does he shoot?  What does he do for warm up?

For Example:

If his upper body is bent over = tight hip flexors

If he shoots left = Tight right Hip (must be balanced) (and vice versa for a right shooter)

Warm up is Crucial for effective stride length so make sure you are including an effective dynamic warm-up before you get on the ice.

 

If you are still having issues with stride length look to tackle to following through myofacial release,  proper stretching, and off-ice training:

  • Tight Hip Flexors– Comes from too much skating, riding the bicycle (amazes me how many pros I see still riding the bike after games!), not enough stretching, computers and TV etc. Look for warm-up exercises that extends the hip and lengthens the leg.

 

  • Tight Hamstrings: same as above.

 

  • Weak Glute Muscles: Glute Med, Glute Max, Piriformis  muscles which extend and abduct the hip.  These muscles are neglected off the ice.  If these muscles are not strong, power can not be generated to get a full stride. Weak glutes often cause the common hockey groin injury as a direct result of the groin being overworked.

 

  • Tight IT Band – Abducts the hip. Tightness in the IT band causes knee tracking problems causing Patella Femoral syndrome. Use myofacial release to help reduce tightness.

 

  • Tight/Weak Adductors: Commonly neglected.  Athletes tend to stretch this muscle a lot, however neglect to strengthen them.  This affects the recovery phase of the skating stride. Due to the imbalances of the Glutes the groin is an overworked muscle.

 

  • Upper Body Posture: Tight anterior muscles can affect the stride length as well. When a player strides, the opposite arm cocks back as well.  Being tight can cause the leg not to extend to its full potential.  Most hockey players are tight in the Anterior Upper Body (chest region).

 

  • Weak Core Muscles: Especially Back Extensors.  Weak low back causes a hunched position which decreases stride length.  SST has found that strengthening the Lower Back will increase stride length.

 

These weak areas can be improved by:

  1. Stretching the hip flexors and hamstrings, strengthening the glute muscles, strengthening the adductor muscles.
  2. A mixture of dynamic stretching, static stretching, foam roll self myofacial release.
  3. A proper warm up before training, practice and games is also very important.

 

EXERCISES PERFORMED AT SST

Split Squats, Lunges, Walking Lunges and other forms of Lunges, Glute Ham Raise, Reverse Hyper Extension, Deadlifts and all variations,  Resisted Hip Adduction, Y,T,W,L Shoulder Circuit, Back Extension and a variety of speed, agility, quickness and power exercises.

A player with a long fluent skating stride will be more effective and efficient during a game.  He/she will not use as much energy, will be stronger on his/her feet, and will be less likely to become injured.

To recap:  Stretch hip flexors, IT band and chest muscles.  Strengthen glutes, adductors, back extensors and upper back.  SST recommends doing this 3 x a week and watching the difference in your stride and your game.

 

For more great articles and videos please visit www.sstcanada.com

 

 

10 Foods Staples to Throw Out NOW!! – Part 1

With busy schedules of work, school, kids, training, housework – the list can go on and on – pantry staples can be a great time saver in preparing your meals, avoiding the drive-thru and keeping your nutrition on track. However, there are many everyday staples in your pantry that are doing more harm than good and need to be thrown out immediately!

healthy pantryHaving healthy, nutrient dense pantry staples on hand will help keep you full longer, aid in lean muscle growth, increase your energy and help the waist line shrink!

Read on to find out what time saving staple need to be kicked to the curb and what you can replace them with!

1. READY-TO-EAT BREAKFAST CEREAL

These are the first thing that need to hit the trash bin!! This staple is quick, easy, LOADED with sugar and not much else. It is easy to be fooled by labels boasting about ‘added vitamins’, and pictures of whole almonds, oats, grains, mountain scenery… But even those cereals marketed as ‘healthy’ are usually loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates and they lack sufficient fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help keep you energized and full for the start of your day. Because of this you are more likely to have a crash in blood sugar levels mid-morning causing more sugar cravings and having you reaching for snacks that contain more sugar and doing so earlier in the day then you should be.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Oatmealoatmeal

Were not talking to Quacker packets loaded with sugar. Stock your pantry with plain oats (steel cut are even better) that can be made on the stove top. They only take a couple minutes to prepare and you can customize them with all your favourites – almonds, cashew butter, fruits, seeds, flax-seed, organic honey, dark chocolate shavings – the possibilities are endless and delicious!

2. WHITE RICE

White rice is about as void of nutrients as a product can get. The heavy processing the rice goes through strips rice of almost all vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Along with that white rice is a refined carbohydrate meaning it is digested and absorbed by the body quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar levels which in turn forces your body to process the sugar quickly and leads to fat conversion and storage.

What to Keep On-hand Instead? – Red, Black or Wild Rice
These whole grain rice options may cost an extra buck or two but they are worth the splurge! Whole grain rices have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and are digested at a much slower rates. Allowing your body to properly prowild ricecess the carbohydrates and using them as fuel instead of converting them for fat storage. These options will also keep your blood sugar levels more stable leading to less cravings and the extra fiber will help keep you feeling full longer.

 

 

 

If you liked this post make sure to check back in a few days for Part 2!

If you have any questions or comments about this post make sure to ask in our comments section or email SST Mississauga’s Lead Strength Coach, Courtney  ( cplewes@sstcanada.com ).

Sports Nutrition on the Road – Part 4: Low & High GI Carbs & Energy Drinks

In case you missed the beginning of this series: PART 1, PART 2 & PART 3

OTRN part 4

In Part 2 of our sports nutrition on the road series we spoke about Low- and High-GI Carbs, but what are there? And why do they matter to you performance?

Carbohydrates are important for athletes because they provide you with your main source of energy for exercise and competition. Without an adequate supply of carbs your performance can be severely limited. The Glycemic Index (GI) is an index of foods with different kinds of carbohydrates; complex, simple, etc. Foods are generally rate as “Low GI” or “High GI” based on the speed at which carbohydrates are absorbed by the body.

Low GI Foods are rich in fiber, and have carbs that absorb slowly and take a longer time to deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your working muscles

  • Eat these the night before games and at your pre-game meals
  • Potatoes (preferably sweet potatoes)
  • Pasta (Whole wheat)
  • Beans and nuts (not peanuts)
  • Rice/Grains (wild rice, quinoa, barley)
  • Fruits -apples/pears/cherries/grapefruit/bananas/pineapple
  • Vegetables – carrots/broccoli/mushrooms/peppers/tomatoes

High GI Foods consist of sugars and starches, and have carbs that absorb rapidly and deliver glucose to your blood and glycogen to your muscles quickly

  • Eat these within the first 12 hours after competition to reload the tank quickly
  • Some may also be eaten within the last 30-60 minutes before competition, at halftime, or between innings/periods
  • Baked potatoes
  • Corn chips/rice cakes/pretzels
  • Brown rice/Jasmine long grain white rice
  • Cereals (corn and oat-based)
  • Sweetened fruit drinks/dried fruits/watermelon
  • Sports Bars or Drinks

 

Energy Drinks

Energy drink such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Amp, etc. contain incredibly high levels of caffeine, other stimulants, and huge amounts of sugar. They DO NOT provide any kind of sustained energy you need for an athletic competition and can actually have the opposite effect. Energy drinks can actually promote poor sleeping habits, caffeine/sugar crashes, and nutrient wasting by stealing your appetite from healthy foods.

Because these drinks are caffeine laden they also have a significant effect on dehydration as well as raise your heart rate and blood pressure. If you are in a sport in which randomized drug testing is common place these drinks can also exceed the legal caffeine limits set by CESP and WADA.

These are all things you definitely want to avoid on game day!

 

If you found this info useful be sure to share it with a friend!

For more info on this topic email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 3: Game Day

In case you missed PART 1 or PART 2!

Awareness, knowledge, and preparation are key when wanting to make huge difference in your game day performance.  The benefits of nutrition, in respect to athletic performance, can mean the difference between winning and losing and an optimal vs. subpar performance.

Think about your body like a high performance race car.  Dale Earnhardt doesn’t put regular gasoline in his car before a race he uses Sunoco Green E15-a 98 octane fuel blend specifically engineered for high-performance engines! Basically, the best of the best! You need to approach your game day nutrition in the same manner. By doing so you can maximize gains you have made OTRN part 3from training, increase your energy levels, recover faster and think more clearly.

 

How to Prepare on Game Day

Pre-Game Meal

  • 4-6 hours before game
  • High Complex/Low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Hydrate well: sports drinks (Aminocore, BCAA’s with electrolytes), water

2-3 Hours before game

  • Moderately-sized snack: more low GI foods; low protein and fat
  • Continue to hydrate
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

1 Hour before game

  • Small snack: easily digestible foods (fruit, pretzels)
  • Continue to hydrate with water or a sports drink such as BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

30 minutes before game –“Top off the tank”

  • High-GI carbs that will absorb quickly and deliver glucose rapidly to working muscles
  • Hydrate with water or a sports drink such as a BCAA drink with electrolytes (like Aminocore or Biosteel)
  • No caffeine* (or energy drinks)

*Caffeine has major dehydrating effects, can make you jumpy, and raises your heart rate and blood pressure; all the things you should avoid on game day!

 

Post-Game Recovery

30-60 minutes after competition

  • VITAL PERIOD!
  • Replace every pound of weight lost through sweating with 20-24 ounces of fluid
  • Make sure to fuel your body for recovery
    • Ingest food with a concentration of 4:1 ratio carb:protein blend drink – better than water
    • Carbs should be of the High-GI variety to replenish glycogen stores quickly

60-90 minutes after competition

  • Continue to hydrate

Within 3 hours after competition

  • Mixed Meal – combination of protein, carbs and fat
    • Carbs here should be of the Low-GI variety so as not to spike your blood sugar levels
  • Continue to hydrate
  • NO soda, alcohol, caffeine

Within 24hrs after competition

  • Strictly Limit: Alcohol, Soda, Caffeine in any form
  • Dehydration, lack of sleep, and lack of nutrients are detrimental to recovery

 

Meal Examples:

  • Game day breakfast:
Three soft boiled eggs with a pinch of sea salt and two pieces of
whole grain toast with organic butter, small Greek yogurt & fruit mix with ground flax seeds.
  • Pre-Game Meal:
Grilled skinless chicken breast with brown rice, broccoli and a salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Pre-Game Snack:
Oatmeal with ground flax seeds, walnuts, banana, unsweetened shredded coconut and a drizzle of pure maple syrup!
  • Post-Game Recovery Shake:
Six ounces coconut water, six ounces water, 2 scoops good quality protein and one banana.
  • Post-Game meal: Grilled skinless chicken breast, sweet potato and asparagus
A good blend of lean protein, complex/nutrient dense carbohydrates and veggies. The foods your body needs to repair itself!

 

REMEMBER – Game day nutrition and recovery are vital to successful performance week-in and week-out, but eating well on game day only works if you are eating well all week as well! Don’t wait for the pre-game meal to get everything you need. Approach your nutrition with the same discipline as your training and you will maximize your potential as an athlete.

Keep a look out for PART 4 coming soon!!

If you liked this post be sure to share it with a friend!

If you have questions or would like more info about this topic please email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

 

Sports Nutrition On The Road – Part 2: Dehydration & Jet Lag

Dehydration & jet leg Blog

If you have missed the first part of this blog series click here to view Part 1!

One of the big killers of athletic performance is dehydration and jet lag. Adequate hydration is critical to over-coming any time changes as well as keeping yourself functioning to your full potential. Athletes should always carry a water bottle and sip fluids frequently. Airline travel is especially dehydrating due to the pressurized cabin. Athletes should carry an empty bottle with them through airport security and fill it with water as soon as they are through. Athletes should aim to drink a minimum of 1 cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel.

Other tips to help reduce dehydration and jet-lag while traveling are:

  • Consume a high carb meal or two prior to travelling; this will help build extra glycogen (energy) and fluid stores
  • Drink one cup (250 mL) of fluid for every hour of air travel
  • Limit pop, coffee, tea, and alcohol
  • Pack extra calories with nutritious portable snacks – pretzels, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts
  • Upon arrival, go out in the sunlight to help adjust to the new time zone
  • Allow 1–3 days to adjust for every time zone crossed, plan your travels days accordingly

Stay tuned for Part 3: Game Day Nutrition!

If you liked this article please be sure to share it with a friend!!

For more info about this article email Courtney (cplewes@sstcanada.com)

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body Part 3

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body

This series on how to incorporate static stretching to improve athletic performance was begun a couple of months ago. The reasons behind this series are simply that, over the last few years, static stretching has gotten a bad rap in strength and conditioning circles and to show how we can use static stretching to enhance performance rather than detract from it. The first two parts of this series looked at the basic guidelines of a static stretching routine and stretches for the lower body. In this final installment, we will cover static stretching for the upper body.

Just to recap, the purpose of static stretching is not to warm-up for athletic activity; it is to lengthen those muscles that were shown to be overly short at the conclusion of our initial assessment at SST. It is important to note that we do not incorporate a shotgun approach and static stretch every single muscle group. Depending on the areas of tightness of the individual, stretches for only a single muscle group might be prescribed.

With our recap complete, let’s get into the common trends and then the actual stretches!

Common Trends:

  • Tight pectoralis major Part 1
  • Tight latissimus dorsi Part 2
  • Tight upper traps/levator scapulae

Tight Upper Traps/Levator Scapulae

The upper traps and levator scapulae are two different muscles which get tight under the same general conditions, again associated with poor seated posture. First, the upper traps are easily found at the upper back to either side of the spine. The levator scapulae, on the other hand, is neither as well known nor easily found; it lies deeper than the traps and the superficial neck extensor muscles.

To stretch the upper traps, simply pull the shoulder blade, on the side you want to stretch, down towards your butt and then lean your head (or gently pull it with your opposite side arm) diagonally towards the non-stretch side armpit (think chin to armpit).

To stretch your levator scapulae, take a similar set-up as the upper trap stretch, placing the stretch side hand behind your lower back and depressing the shoulder blade. With the other hand, gently pull the head towards the non-stretch side armpit (again, think chin to armpit). Like the other stretches; 10-15 seconds, release, and perform another 1 or 2 reps.

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SST has been very fortunate to have trained thousands of hockey athletes throughout their 8 locations in Canada. We, at SST, wish everyone a great summer and remind you to concentrate on your off –ice training. Please check out our website www.sst.training for more info about SST’s High Performance Summer Camp!

Learn how to become faster by dragging a sled, tire flipping, fire hose dragging, car dragging and much more!

Our locations include:

Burlington http://sst.training/burlington.php

Hamilton ; http://sst.training/hamilton.php

Laval ; http://sst.training/laval.php

Milton ; http://sst.training/milton.php

Mississauga; http://sst.training/mississauga.php

Oakville ; http://oakville.sst.training/

Richmond Hill; http://sst.training/richmondhill.php

Waterloo; http://sst.training/waterloo.php

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body Part 2

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body

This series on how to incorporate static stretching to improve athletic performance was begun a couple of months ago. The reasons behind this series are simply that, over the last few years, static stretching has gotten a bad rap in strength and conditioning circles and to show how we can use static stretching to enhance performance rather than detract from it. The first two parts of this series looked at the basic guidelines of a static stretching routine and stretches for the lower body. In this final installment, we will cover static stretching for the upper body.

Just to recap, the purpose of static stretching is not to warm-up for athletic activity; it is to lengthen those muscles that were shown to be overly short at the conclusion of our initial assessment at SST. It is important to note that we do not incorporate a shotgun approach and static stretch every single muscle group. Depending on the areas of tightness of the individual, stretches for only a single muscle group might be prescribed.

With our recap complete, let’s get into the common trends and then the actual stretches!

Common Trends:

  • Tight pectoralis major – PART 1
  • Tight latissimus dorsi – Part 2
  • Tight upper traps/levator scapulae

 

Tight Latissimus Dorsi

Tight lats are a common problem area for much of the same reason as the pecs: they’re internal rotators of the upper arm. Yes, they also produce other movements such as shoulder extension, adduction, and scapular downward rotation, however their role as internal rotators is the main issue because of typical “computer guy” posture. Notice your posture right now as you’re reading this. There’s a good chance that you are both internally rotated (this is due to the nature of typing/using a mouse) and protracted (shoulders rounded forward). When you add to this the fact that you spend hours of each day in this position at school or playing video games, the result is that your pecs and lats will become shortened. To stretch the latissimus dorsi, bend over at the waist and grab onto a vertical pillar structure with one or both hands. Then simply shift your weight right back to your heels and lean back a little (push your butt back). You will feel the stretch in the muscle belly. Again 10-15 second holds, relax, and go back into the stretch again but lean back a little farther. Do a total of 2-3 reps depending on how tight you are.

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SST has been very fortunate to have trained thousands of hockey athletes throughout their 8 locations in Canada. We, at SST, wish everyone a great summer and remind you to concentrate on your off –ice training. Please check out our website www.sst.training for more info about SST’s High Performance Summer Camp!

Learn how to become faster by dragging a sled, tire flipping, fire hose dragging, car dragging and much more!

Our locations include:

Burlington http://sst.training/burlington.php

Hamilton ; http://sst.training/hamilton.php

Laval ; http://sst.training/laval.php

Milton ; http://sst.training/milton.php

Mississauga; http://sst.training/mississauga.php

Oakville ; http://oakville.sst.training/

Richmond Hill; http://sst.training/richmondhill.php

Waterloo; http://sst.training/waterloo.php

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body Part 1

Stretching for Athletic Performance: The Upper Body

This series on how to incorporate static stretching to improve athletic performance was begun a couple of months ago. The reasons behind this series are simply that, over the last few years, static stretching has gotten a bad rap in strength and conditioning circles and to show how we can use static stretching to enhance performance rather than detract from it. The first two parts of this series looked at the basic guidelines of a static stretching routine and stretches for the lower body. In this final installment, we will cover static stretching for the upper body.

Just to recap, the purpose of static stretching is not to warm-up for athletic activity; it is to lengthen those muscles that were shown to be overly short at the conclusion of our initial assessment at SST. It is important to note that we do not incorporate a shotgun approach and static stretch every single muscle group. Depending on the areas of tightness of the individual, stretches for only a single muscle group might be prescribed.

With our recap complete, let’s get into the common trends and then the actual stretches!

Common Trends:

  • Tight pectoralis major
  • Tight latissimus dorsi
  • Tight upper traps/levator scapulae

Tight Pec Major

The pectoralis major muscle has two main functions: to horizontally adduct the arm and to internally rotate the humerus, so in order to stretch it we need to both horizontally abduct the arm and externally rotate it. The most commonly used stretch involves placing your outstretched arm on a doorway and then rotating your chest away from your arm. The main problem here is that not all the muscle fibers are oriented at the same angle, so by just placing your arm at one position (shoulder height, for example) you only get a good stretch in those fibers that run with the same orientation as your arm (in this case, straight across the muscle belly which are in the mid to upper portion of the pectoralis major muscle). To stretch all the fibers, you will need to perform this stretch with your hand above shoulder height (think 45 degrees), at shoulder height, and below shoulder height (again, think 45 degrees). Hold each position for 10-15 seconds.

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SST has been very fortunate to have trained thousands of hockey athletes throughout their 8 locations in Canada. We, at SST, wish everyone a great summer and remind you to concentrate on your off –ice training. Please check out our website www.sst.training for more info about SST’s High Performance Summer Camp!

Learn how to become faster by dragging a sled, tire flipping, fire hose dragging, car dragging and much more!

Our locations include:

Burlington http://sst.training/burlington.php

Hamilton ; http://sst.training/hamilton.php

Laval ; http://sst.training/laval.php

Milton ; http://sst.training/milton.php

Mississauga; http://sst.training/mississauga.php

Oakville ; http://oakville.sst.training/

Richmond Hill; http://sst.training/richmondhill.php

Waterloo; http://sst.training/waterloo.php

Stretch for Speed???? WHAT??

The Importance of Flexibility for Speed Development

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When examining the critical factors that contribute to high level athletic performance, flexibility is one of the key items. It has been hypothesized that improving an athlete’s flexibility may allow them to be more successful in their chosen athletic endeavor. More specifically, speed, may be significantly improved by incorporating some form of flexibility enhancement into an athlete’s training program.

Recently, a scientific study was conducted to examine whether or not including a specific form of flexibility training in an athlete’s daily training routine would improve sprint performance. In this study, 30 men age 20-35, who exercised an average of 7.5 hours per week during the six months prior to the study served as subjects. Their preferred modes of training were free weights and cardiovascular machines (Stairmaster, stationary bicycle etc.). Fifteen individuals included twice daily, five minute flexibility sessions into their exercise routine, thereby acting as the treatment group. The second group served as the control and did not incorporate any additional flexibility training into their pre-existing training program. Flexibility was assessed by a sit and reach test, power through a vertical jump test and speed by a 40 meter sprint. The results, expressed as percent improvement from the pre test to the post test, are as follows:

Improvement from Pre Test to Post Test

Flexibility

Power

Speed

Treatment group

64%

10%

5%

Control group

9%

0%

0%

These results indicate that supplementing an athlete’s daily training routine with flexibility training is an excellent way to increase athletic performance. In essence a flood of events is set into motion. Flexibility improves, which in turn positively affects power generation, thereby augmenting speed.

On top of this, flexibility leads to decreased injury. By not having to take time off to heal an injury we are able to spend more time gaining strength which will ultimately lead to enhanced levels of speed. So what are waiting for? Why not add this extra tool into your toolbox to bring your performance to the next level?

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SST has been very fortunate to have trained thousands of hockey athletes throughout their 8 locations in Canada. We, at SST, wish everyone a great summer and remind you to concentrate on your off –ice training. Please check out our website www.sst.training for more info about SST’s High Performance Summer Camp!

Learn how to become faster by dragging a sled, tire flipping, fire hose dragging, car dragging and much more!

Our locations include:

Burlington http://sst.training/burlington.php

Hamilton ; http://sst.training/hamilton.php

Laval ; http://sst.training/laval.php

Milton ; http://sst.training/milton.php

Mississauga; http://sst.training/mississauga.php

Oakville ; http://oakville.sst.training/

Richmond Hill; http://sst.training/richmondhill.php

Waterloo; http://sst.training/waterloo.php

Core Training For Hockey Players

Core Training For Hockey Players

Core and Instability Training – Circus Act, or Performance Fact?

It is becoming impossible to talk about strength and conditioning without someone mentioning “CORE” training. The notion that in order to have functional sports training you must train the core specifically is not only wrong, but is leading to many problems and imbalances in today’s poorly trained athletes. Before we delve into this, let’s first examine the classical thinking behind “core” training. To many, the core consists of the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, some even include muscles of the pelvis, ribcage, and spine into the equation. You can begin to see where the problem with “core” training begins as it means many different things to different people. Some believe sit-ups and leg raises to be core training, others argue the core is trained with every movement. So which is it? Well, although sit-ups and leg raises will isolate and train the muscles of the abdomen, they likely will not improve performance. In fact they can lead to tight hip flexor muscles and decrease mobility; a hockey player’s worst nightmare. In order for improved performance we must improve the body’s ability to transfer force between tissues. In order to achieve the greatest amount of force transfer the body must develop the ability to remain stiff. This is where the core comes into play; for improved performance we must train the core’s ability to remain rigid in order to allow for force transfer between the upper and lower extremity. This is especially important in hockey during changing direction, taking a slap shot, and many other basic skills performed numerous times each game.

How do we train Stiffness?

To train the body to be able to stay stiff under different conditions we must put it in different situations and force it to remain stiff. Sounds simple? The devil is in the details – using single leg exercises, the body is forced to stabilize itself; also single arm weighted carries may be some of the best core exercises you can use. In both cases, the body is given an uneven load that it is forced to balance in order to perform the exercise. Other variations that are great for improving stability: plank variations and loaded squats; both encourage stiffness throughout the mid section in order to transfer force between the lower and upper body. Therefore, if training the body to balance is best then wouldn’t using unstable surface equipment be the most effective?

Although these types of training techniques are often utilized in an attempt to improve stability within the core during exercise, you may not be achieving these benefits from them. Studies have shown that unstable surface training in trained athletes does not provide adequate stimulus in order to promote a training effect. As a result although it may look impressive to stand on a physio ball with a barbell over your head, or to balance a dumbbell on your head while squatting on a Bosu, in actual fact you are not receiving much more than a cool story to tell at the dinner table that night, and certainly not an increase in performance. In reality, sports are played on stable surfaces and should be trained on stable surfaces. The inclusion of unstable surfaces during training can also potentially increase the risk of injury due to falling, rolled ankles etc. If the goal of training is to reduce injury and increase performance, then training in a fashion that best mimics the demands of the sport is your best option.

Dave Scott McDowell

SST has been very fortunate to have trained thousands of hockey athletes throughout their 8 locations in Canada. We, at SST, wish everyone a great summer and remind you to concentrate on your off –ice training. Please check out our website www.sst.training for more info about SST’s High Performance Summer Camp!

Learn how to become faster by dragging a sled, tire flipping, fire hose dragging, car dragging and much more!

Our locations include:

Burlington http://sst.training/burlington.php

Hamilton ; http://sst.training/hamilton.php

Laval ; http://sst.training/laval.php

Milton ; http://sst.training/milton.php

Mississauga; http://sst.training/mississauga.php

Oakville ; http://oakville.sst.training/

Richmond Hill; http://sst.training/richmondhill.php

Waterloo; http://sst.training/waterloo.php