Why stretching your groins is not a priority.
Before we start talking about your groins – as it relates to hockey training of course 🙂 I wanted to let you know that Paul and I survived the Tough Mudder on Saturday – it was awesome! I will write a full post on it later this week for those of you who are thinking of giving it a try, but I want to get you this great hockey training content first because that is why you are here right?
Why stretching is the LAST thing you should do to your groins.
Picture in your mind how you feel after the first day back on the ice after a few weeks off. Your muscles feel stiff and sore don’t they?
Where do you feel sore? Probably a few different spots, but I bet 90% of you feel a little sore and quite tight in your groins. So what do you do about it? Well, you probably do what most people want to do to a tight muscle – you stretch it.
Stretching can make it feel a little better over the short term, but it is not solving the problem that made you tight in the first place. Many of you are not feeling tight and sore because of muscle TIGHTNESS, you are feeling that way because of muscle WEAKNESS.
Have you ever had to move something really heavy – like a refrigerator? You wrestle with it because really, it is a much heavier load that you are used to handling. The next day your back, glutes and hamstrings are achy and stiff, you move like a robot.
Now, have you ever seen professional movers handle the same refrigerator? They have the strength and the know how to do this all day long without their muscles rolling up into tight knots while they sleep. Their muscles are trained to handle the loads.
You Will Never Need To Use The ‘Groin’ Machine At The Gym
So instead of stretching out your groins, what if I showed you how you can train them to handle the load – and NO you don’t have to sit on that stupid ‘groin machine’ at the gym while all the soccer moms wait impatiently in line while you grunt out your 4 sets of 15 reps.
I will run you through a description as well as the number of sets and reps and then I have a video showing you exactly how to do each exercise.
Step One: Build Some Basic Strength And Stability
Standing Low Pulley Adduction is a great way to build some strength in the leg that is doing the adduction, while at the same time building a huge amount of stability in the weight bearing leg – bonus two for the price of one exercise!
Your adductors or groins are actually made up of several muscles that work at different hip positions, so for this reason, make sure you are doing one rep with your foot coming forward and one foot with your foot tucking in behind (I show you what I mean in the video). If you are just pulling straight in, you are missing some of the muscles.
Start with 2 sets of 12 reps (6 to the front; 6 to the back). Build up to 3 sets.
Step Two: Expand The Range Of Motion
When you skate, you are using your hips through a much greater range of motion than you do during your everyday activities. From the end of a skating stride to the final push of a cross under, that is a lot of real estate.
When I trained the NHL’s fastest skater he told me that one of his secrets was really pushing under during his crossovers, this let him pick up speed on corners. Something many players are not balanced or strong enough to do – – until now.
When you do the Cable Cross Under just make sure you are staying low to work those muscles in the same position that you will use them on the ice as you drive with your legs, pick up speed in the corners and beat your opponent up the ice in time to spoil his break away. I show you what I mean in the video.
Start with 2 sets of 8 reps on each leg. Build up to 3 sets.
Step Three: Get Long And Strong
I hope you don’t misunderstand me when I say ‘your groins don’t need to be stretched’. If they really are too short, then stretching will be a part of the formula, but the majority of the players I see have good flexibility in their adductors, their body just doesn’t know how to control them in a lengthened position where they are weakest.
So we do some Eccentric Adductors, which is a super simple way to build strength (and control) when those muscles are in a lengthened position – where most groin injuries occur as a matter of fact.
When you do this exercise, just make sure that you go very slowly and that you use your arms to unload your groins as you come back up – you will see what I mean in the video.
Start with 1 set of 5 reps using a 5-10 second eccentric phase. Build up to 10 reps.
Here’s your Tutorial Video…
If you cannot see the video in the player above, please click the link below…
Follow The Formula
Now, all that is left to do is follow the formula. Do at least six workouts at each step – so if you train twice per week, do your Step One exercise, Low Pulley Adduction during each workout (2-3 days per week) for the first three weeks and then move on to the Cable Cross Under for another three weeks and finally progress to the Eccentric Adductors.
Committed to your success,