Stop doing THIS exercise for your back (do this instead)

Moving Day…

NHL Trade DeadlineInterested to hear your thoughts on the big Luongo trade yesterday.  It must be a terrible feeling as a GM to know you have to move a guy at a financial loss.  I can’t help but wonder if this is the tip of the iceberg for the Canucks and if more deals will follow.  Hopefully there is some action so the boys over at SportsNet have something to talk about during the deadline extravaganza!

I guess that will give us something to talk about later in the week, so today we will talk about upper body training and how it makes you skate faster.  Like most hockey training exercises there are good, better and best, so today I will let you know what to avoid and what upper body exercises you need to include in your hockey training.

The Worst Pulling Exercise You Can Do In The Gym…And What to Do Instead

When you think of your ‘skating’ muscles, your mid-back probably is not the first body part that springs to mind, but they actually do add more force to each stride.

Do this, the next time you are on the ice, go stand on one goal line and then skate as fast as you can to the far blue line without using your arms at all – keep them pinned right down to your sides.

Now, repeat the same drill, but think about driving your arms powerfully forward and back.  There is a huge difference isn’t there?  So you can see how if we build up those mid-back pulling muscles we can actually improve your skating speed.

The reason your arms help your legs is explained in the video below, but basically the connective tissue from your mid-back through to your hip extensors is integrated, so putting tension in that system from your arms, will increase the tension and the subsequent force production in the legs.

upper body exercises for hockey playersLike stretching an elastic band – the more you can stretch it, the more it is going to snap back.

Stop Doing THIS…

If you have ever used the Seated Row Machine (the one with the pad in front where you rest your chest as you pull with your arms), please stop!  This is the same as using the Leg Press to build your legs.

Although the Seated Row, might let you lift more weight because your back is supported by the chest pad – you do not have to stabilize your torso at all, so you can teach those muscles to produce force, without having any clue how to stabilize that force or work in an integrated fashion with the rest of the muscles in the chain.

Do THIS Instead…

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click this link…
http://youtu.be/G8NX-xdi3aU

I have a strong preference for DB or Cable Rows for a horizontal pull and for Pull Ups/Chin Up variations for vertical pulls.  Here are a few that you can try…

  • Plank Position Row – like a core plank combined with a row.
  • Contra DB Row – works your glutes and your mid-back muscles at the same time while requiring balance and stabilization.  That sounds like hockey.
  • Staggered Cable Row – requires the use of your hips and back extensors to maintain a stable torso as you row.
  • Body Row (or Towel Grip Body Row) – mid-back, back extensors and hip extensors all work together with this awesome bodyweight variation.  Your grip strength will get a workout too.

The exact number of sets and reps will vary based on the phase of your training, so it is tough to say, but if I were going to give you a general rep range – 8-12 for 3 sets is where I would start.

Happy trade deadline day!
M

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Maria Mountain

Maria Mountain is a Fitness Coach and the owner of Revolution Conditioning in London, Ontario. She helps hockey players from AAA to professionals compete at their highest level while reducing their risk of injury. Dedicated to athletes who want to work hard, but train smart.

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