One thing I’ve noticed that a lot of guys (beer league all stars that is) lack is the knowledge on how to properly warm themselves up before games. Not necessarily to get their hand-eye coordination going (see previous article) but to get their muscles loose. Let me tell you something right now, take it from someone who has pulled their groin so often that they can’t keep count anymore and a guy who has had hip surgery all by the age of 21. Not warming up is asking for injuries.
Not only is warming up properly going to help you to get focused on the game and get you in the zone, but it’s also going to help you perform at a higher level because you’re getting rid of the lactic acid in your muscles that can slow you down.
Right now, I’m going to go through most of my warm up for every game I’ve played (since I learned how to properly warm up) to help you properly warm up all your muscles and prevent future injury. Feel free to add more to your warm up!
The Warm up
- Jog: First things first, you really want to get a light jog around the parking lot or the rink. I used to jog a few laps around the rink. This is a good chance to start to get the lactic acid out of your legs and body. You don’t have to sprint, but a good pace helps.
- High knees: I think this is a pretty self explanatory name. Make sure to do this exercise (and all exercises) about 10 years down and back.
- Butt kicks: Again, this is a pretty self explanatory name. Do this exercise at a high pace to really get any lactic acid out of those quads. They’re going to be pretty important tonight.
- Soldier kicks: This is pretty much just a high kick to stretch out those hamstring muscles. You really want to kick those legs up as high as you can and then swing that leg back. That way you’re getting your hamstrings and your hip flexors.
- Backward Lunges: Basically you’re doing a lunge except you’re walking backwards and leaning backwards into the lunge. This way you’re really stretching out those hip flexors. A good way to stretch those hips out is to keep your arms stretched out above your head as you take each step backward.
- Karaoke: I think most of you have probably done this at some point in your life (if not, check it out on youtube because it’s kind of hard to explain). But something to keep in mind is to keep your shoulders and chest square to the side you are facing. This is really going to open those hips up. Make sure do this facing both ways to open up both hips.
- Shuffling: Just like the karaoke, make sure to keep your hips square. This is really going to warm up those hips again. Something I do to help me warm up some more is shuffle for about 10 yards then turn into a sprint for a few yards.
Static Stretches: do all these stretches for about 10-15 seconds a leg
- Quad stretch: Stand on one leg and grab one foot and pull. Make sure you grab your foot and not your ankle. If you have a problem with balance while you’re doing this, try to focus on one spot on the ground that won’t move.
- Hamstrings: Put your legs together and bend down to touch your toes. Make sure to keep your legs straight and keep your knees locked. You don’t necessarily need to touch your toes, but reach as far down as you can.
- Butterflies: For this stretch you want to sit down and put you the bottom of your feet together and bring them in as close to your crotch as possible. Then push your knees down to the ground. You should feel it in your groin, but don’t hurt yourself.
- Glutes: You’re going to want to continue to sit for this stretch. Bring one leg in and cross it over your other leg. Then, bring your knee into your chest and give it a tug. You should feel it right in your glutes. Be sure to stretch both glutes.
- Leg swing for groin: Find a wall/glass with lots of room. Face the wall and put both arms up against the wall. You want to take one leg and swing it as high as you can from side to side, this should open up your groin more. Be sure to swing both legs.
- Triceps: Take both arms and stretch them above your head. Grab your elbow on one arm and pull it down towards your back. Be sure to stretch both arms.
- Arm circles: With both arms, make small circles with each hand. As you make more circles, make them bigger until you’re swinging your arms in the largest circle possible. You’ll want to go forward and backward.
- Foam roller: if you have time, make sure to roll out on a foam roller. This will get any lactic acid that’s left in your muscles out so you feel loose and ready to go!
While I would recommend more exercises and stretching for a professional or highly elite goaltenders, this is a great start for young or beer league goaltenders to get themselves ready to go for a big game. This will get them loose for the game as well as prevent injury.
I hope this helps for guys who want to better their game off the ice. If you ever need any help with off-ice help, workouts or stretching, please feel free to contact me! Tommy.email@example.com