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A proper warm-up is very important for ice hockey players of all ages. Warm-up exercises should combine skating and stretching before every practice or game.

A good warm-up:

* Reduces the risk of injury.

* Prepares the body for performing in practice or games.

* Takes at least 10 to 15 minutes.

* Proceeds gradually and with purpose.

* Increases the heart rate.

The athlete should warm-up before performing stretching exercises.

* Begin with a casual skate around the rink.

* Skate in both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise) to ensure use of the appropriate muscles, as well as the inside and outside edges of the skates.

* Skating backward and pivoting from side to side should also be included in the warm-up.

When the price of time on the ice is a factor or limited ice time is available, jumping rope or jogging in place is a warm-up alternative.

Stretching:

* Begin stretching after the warm-up. These stretching exercises can also be performed in the locker room prior to skating.

* Each stretching exercise should be done slowly.

* Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

* Concentrate on the muscle being stretched.

* Begin with a slight stretch and hold it for the recommended time.

* Increase the stretch until you "feel" the stretch again and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.

* Stretch slowly, relaxing and exhaling going into the stretch.

* Learn how to hold a position in a relaxed state.

* Ease up if you are unable to hold a position because the stretch is too great.

* Do not bounce when you stretch and don't stretch so far that you experience joint pain.

Hip flexor stretch:

Put one leg forward with the knee bent.

* Extend the other leg backward, putting the knee on the ice.

* Lean slightly forward in an effort to feel the stretch in the hip area.

* Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Groin stretch:

* Sit upright on the ice.

* Bend the knees and bring the heels and soles of the feet together. Pull them toward the buttocks.

* Place elbows on the inside of both upper legs.

* Exhale and slowly push the legs to the floor.

* Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, relax and repeat.

Spinal twist stretch:

* Sit upright on the ice with hands behind extended hips and legs.

* Bend the left leg, cross the left foot over the right leg and slide the heel toward the buttocks.

* Reach over and place the right elbow on the outside of the left knee.

* Exhale. Look over the left shoulder while turning the trunk and pushing the knee back with the right elbow.

* Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Modified hurdler stretch:

* Sit upright on the ice with both legs straight.

* Bend the right knee and slide the heel toward your buttocks.

* Lower the outside of the thigh and calf onto the floor.

* Place the right heel against the inside of the left thigh to form a 90-degree angle between the extended left leg and bent right leg.

* Exhale, bend at the waist, keeping the left leg straight, and lower your hands and torso onto the left leg.

* Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side

Lateral trunk stretch:

* While skating, with your feet shoulder width apart, hold the stick with both hands and put it above your head.

* Slowly, tilt the trunk to the right, hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

* Repeat the stretch for the opposite side.

Rotational trunk stretch:

* While skating, with feet shoulder width apart put the stick behind your back, holding it with both elbows in the bent position.

* Rotate the trunk to the right for 15 to 30 seconds.

* Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Disclaimer:

The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.