Muscle Imbalances and Hockey Players

Muscle Imbalances and Hockey Players

A few weeks back I did an interview with Maria Mountain.  She specializes in goalie training.

She wanted to get my thoughts on muscle imbalances and goalies.

Below I chat about:

– hip flexor and lower ab strains, are they different?
– what is important in preventing goalie injuries
– two things that increases a goalies risk of injury

Here is a clip from the interview.

Maria Mountain: Going back at least 10 years I had the opportunity to go see Shirley Sahrmann speak and attend one of her two or three day seminars. And 10 years later, I don’t remember all the minutia. She is so intelligent and it was great to hear her speak. But the one thing I do remember is, similar to what you’re saying, she said, “Look at what doesn’t look right, make it look right and then move on to the next thing that doesn’t look right.”
When we met up a couple of weeks ago we chatted a little bit about hockey players and one of the things that I’m interested in learning from you is that, in addition to just getting checked into the boards by a 200 pound gorilla, lots of hockey players miss time due to non-contact injuries, so thinking of a hip flexor or a lower ab strain that type of thing. Now I have two questions here.
The first one is, thinking of the hip flexor or the lower ab strain do you think they’re really two different injuries or is it just a manifestation of basically the same mechanism? So that’s my first question. And maybe we’ll address that first.

Rick Kaselj: Yeah. They are two different injuries. Two different areas and tissues are injured but the cause and mechanism are often the same. What ends up happening is the weakest of the two will give way.

We can start arguing about details but different tissues are damaged at a microscopic level but looking at the cause and the mechanism, a lot of times it’s the same.

Whichever one’s weaker will be the one that’s injured.

Maria Mountain: Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you on that. And what do you think are the most important preventative exercises that a hockey player could use to reduce the risk of those injuries?

Rick Kaselj: It’s two-fold that I see.

Exercise is one and then number two would be what you end up doing throughout the day.

When it comes to the exercises, a big thing is having a proper warm up. A proper dynamic warm up which they end up going through prior to practice or prior to game in order to loosen up everything and get the tissue, your body, your different energy systems ready for what you’re going to put it through in practice or in game situations.

Then the second thing would be try and avoid sitting movements because a lot of those, if you look at what we do when it comes to for work, what we end up doing for fun, and in our spare time, more and more of what we end up doing for those three things involve sitting down. Sitting watching TV. Sitting at a computer. Sitting in an office. That sitting position ends up affecting that hip flexor area and that lower abdominal area because it kind of puts it in a shortened position.

I think those two things, a good long warm up and trying to look at what you do when it comes to throughout the day sitting so much.

An example I have, and it’s kind of an extreme example, I did a long distance hike a few years back. Myself and a friend, we hiked from Mexico to Canada, about 4,300 kilometers. We were doing pretty much about half a marathon a day, therefore we were on our feet a lot.

So the thing that we found we were doing was in order to avoid injuries in our feet and lower bodies, whenever we could we got off our feet, we did.

If we weren’t walking or hiking we were off our feet. We were sitting down. We were lying down. We were elevating our feet. We were doing everything we could to get off our feet.

What we were trying to do was avoid something that was going to make things worse and increase the risk of an injury.

Maria Mountain: Yeah. Yeah, so trying to remove chronic stresses that weren’t necessary.

Rick Kaselj: Yeah, exactly. And if you look at, let’s say, a goalie or an athlete. A goalie, they’re in that hunched over position during practice and games. If they have to go on the bus they are in a seated position. If they have to drive to and from games and practice, they are in a seated position. Now, with so much more technology there’s a lot more computer work and phone, so that’s more in a hunch position.

I hope you enjoyed the clip of the interview.

If you want more information on muscle imbalance, CLICK HERE.


Rick Kaselj, MS