Hockey is a tough game to play. It is physically demanding, the opposition plays hard against you and the schedule can be grueling at times. Keeping yourself fresh and ready for the next time you are on the ice can seem out of your reach at times. This is where your post-game recovery strategies come in to play.
Specifically, you will want to focus on your preparation for tomorrow’s ice time today. The quality and length of the muscles is the focus of these efforts, making sure you do not tighten up or lose range of motion. The hips and torso are two areas that typically tighten up in a hockey player and are a great place to work on.
To help with the quality of the muscle tissue, you’ll want to decrease the pressure and tightness in your muscles that follows a hard game or practice on the ice. The foam roller allows you to massage the targeted muscles using pressure from your body weight up against the rounded edge of the roller. The mechanical pressure helps to relieve tight fascia and trigger points in the affected muscles.
Once you have rolled the targeted tissue out, the next step is to lengthen the muscles using dynamic flexibility exercises. In these exercises you want to use constant motion towards your end of range to help maintain or re-acquire range that you may have lost. Use deep breaths to add to the effect of the flexibility exercises, sticking your chest out and maintaining a tall posture throughout each movement.
The preparation is simple and requires little equipment or space to implement but has a big impact on how you feel each day. By using these strategies following each ice session you will be better prepared to recover from today’s workload and set yourself up for a better tomorrow on the ice.