Warm-Up and Stretching Exercises for Ice Hockey. Part 1

Warm-Up
A proper warm-up is very important for ice hockey players of all ages. Warm-up exercises should combine skating and stretching before every practice or game.

A good warm-up:

  • Reduces the risk of injury.
  • Prepares the body for performing in practice or games.
  • Takes at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Proceeds gradually and with purpose.
  • Increases the heart rate.

The athlete should warm-up before performing stretching exercises.

  • Begin with a casual skate around the rink.
  • Skate in both directions (clockwise and counterclockwise) to ensure use of the appropriate muscles, as well as the inside and outside edges of the skates.
  • Skating backward and pivoting from side to side should also be included in the warm-up.

When the price of time on the ice is a factor or limited ice time is available, jumping rope or jogging in place is a warm-up alternative.

Stretching

  • Begin stretching after the warm-up. These stretching exercises can also be performed in the locker room prior to skating.
  • Each stretching exercise should be done slowly.
  • Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Concentrate on the muscle being stretched.
  • Begin with a slight stretch and hold it for the recommended time.
  • Increase the stretch until you “feel” the stretch again and hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Stretch slowly, relaxing and exhaling going into the stretch.
  • Learn how to hold a position in a relaxed state.
  • Ease up if you are unable to hold a position because the stretch is too great.
  • Do not bounce when you stretch and don’t stretch so far that you experience joint pain.

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