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Hockey Flexibility Exercises - Prevent Injuries And Perform Better!
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Hockey Flexibility Exercises - Prevent Injuries And Perform Better!

Including flexibility during your hockey season, and off-season is crucial. This will help you to prevent injuries and increase your performance on the ice. 

There are two types of stretches: static and dynamic. Static exercises are ones where you hold a stretch. It should be held for 15-30 seconds. A dynamic stretch is when you are moving, such as leg swings, arm circles, lunges etc. They each serve their purposes.

You should do static flexibility exercises after your workout, practice or hockey. This will help your muscles recover, and reduce the lactic acid in your muscles. The better they recover, and the less lactic acid in your muscles, the better they will feel the next time you are on the ice. It is important to focus on lower body exercises because you are constantly using your legs on the ice. Static flexibility stretches will take that "heavy" feeling out of your legs next time you are on the ice. You will be able to skate faster and your endurance will be better as well because you do not have to exert your muscles as much. 

Static flexibility exercises post workout will also reduce, if not completely eliminate the the risk of injury. It will prevent your muscles from tightening up after exercise so you do not strain, pull or tear a muscle. This will essentially loosen your muscles up. 

Important exercises to focus on are quad stretches, holding a lunge (hip flexor), groin (butterfly), lying down pull your knee to opposite shoulder (buttocks), touch your toes (hamstring) etc. 

You should do dynamic flexibility exercises before a workout, game or practice. This is very effective at warming up your muscles, yet keeping them condensed and powerful at the same time. A static stretch lengthens them and relaxes them more. They are not able to generate as much speed and power, compared to dynamic flexibility exercises. 

Dynamic flexibility exercises will also prevent injuries, as your muscles are warm and allow you to perform better as there is more blood and oxygen circulating through the muscle. People often do not realize the positive effects that flexibility has on your performance. 

Before warming up for your workout, game or practice, using the agility ladder is probably the best warmup you can do. This warms up your entire body as you are moving quickly, you are using all of the muscles in your legs and you are improving your agility and coordination at the same time. This will get the blood pumping through your entire body and increase your agility as well. 

Following the agility ladder exercises, you can do all sorts of dynamic flexibility exercuses such as leg swings, lunges, squats, high knees, butt kicks, side shuffles, arm circles, lunge with elbow instep and much more. You can do static flexibility exercises as well as long as you do not hold them for more than 2 seconds or so. You can do a quad stretch, hold it for 2 seconds then switch. That would still be a dynamic flexibility exercise. 

Do about 10 reps of a dynamic exercises for 2 or 3 sets. It is really dependent on how you feel. If your quadriceps are really tight, be sure to spend more time stretching them etc.

So be sure to warmup with an agility ladder and dynamic flexibility exercises before hockey and static stretches afterwards. Resistance bands will also assist you in optimizing your static flexibility exercises. This will prevent injury and increase your performance, speed and agility. 

Good luck and train hard!


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