Tournaments are one of the best things about minor hockey for the kids. They travel, meet make new friends and play different players and teams.
After a hectic week at home and school, you pack yourself into a cramped car, drive for hours, check into your hotel and sleep in a strange bed, cot or air mattress. The next morning, you are so stiff and tight that your bones creek and you waddle like a penguin. And that’s the kids. Imagine how the parents and coaches feel! And you haven’t played a game yet. The next morning, after a tough day of hockey, you are even stiffer. Before braving the breakfast buffet gauntlet, try these gentle stretches to loosen up your back and hips and to awaken your nervous system to be ready to battle on the ice, and the buffet line.
Parents and coaches, these stretches are rated G for great, and are approved for the whole family anytime you need to loosen up.
Dead Dude Pose
Lie on you back with your feet hip-width apart and let your feet fall away from your body. This will help you tune into your stiff hips from playing, coaching, standing, sitting and sleeping. You will also start to relax the stiffness in your back. Place your hands by your side and roll your palms up. This helps relax and stretch your chest and shoulders. Close your eyes, breath long slow breaths and really focus on relaxing when you exhale. Lay here for 10 breaths or so; you will feel your muscular tension ease and your body will soften.
Extend your arms overhead, palms up, and point your toes. When you inhale, reach through the fingers and lengthen your spine. Relax on the exhale. You are now creating space and length in the spine, shoulders and hips. If you find your belly rising and your lumbar curve becoming more pronounced when you reach, it means your hip flexors are too tight. Focus on locking your core, without contracting your quadriceps, to lock your mid-section and relax the thigh muscles. Keep reaching and keep relaxing.
Rock and Roll
Grab each knee with one hand and pull your knees to your chest and round your lower spine. Start by keeping your head on the floor and rotate the knees to introduce no-load mobility to the hip region. Now tuck you chin to your chest and roll front to back. Make sure you have a round spine with no flat spots. Your body weight will gently massage your spine and back muscles and awaken your nervous system. Finally open your elbows to the side and rock side-to-side to massage and soften your lower back muscles.
Twist and Shout
Cross your top leg across the centre line of your body and bring the thigh perpendicular to the spine. Place your closest hand on the top knee and gently relax and soften as you breath. Don’t push the stretch, just let it happen. After a few breaths, turn your head and look away from the stretch at your opposite hand. This stretch further stimulates and awakens your nervous system, stretches your lower back and glutes and opens your chest.
As my son says: “It’s a beauty!” It only takes five minutes, so give it a try.
You are now ready for the breakfast buffet.Back to Top
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