Whether you’re getting back into football, hockey or soccer this spring, a few simple additional exercises and drills can help you to have your best season yet.
#1 Mobility Drills
As a former hockey player, mobility has always been an issue for me especially in my shoulders and hips. I personally suffered numerous injuries on both my shoulders during my hockey career, and see this injury quite often in the gym I own. If you experience shoulder or hip tightness regularly, try 10 to 15 minutes on these mobility drills:
- Banded Shoulder Distraction:
1. Place a resistance band on rack about 2” above head.
2. Face into rack and hold band supported on the back of the wrist.
3. Go into lunge and allow band to pull arm up and forward, palm up to the sky, as you drive chest towards knee.
4. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes on each shoulder.
- Lacrosse Ball Pec Trigger Point Release
1. Place a ball between your pec and the wall, and move your body around, until you find an area where there is more pain then others.
2. Spend more time here until you feel the pain subside.
- Hip Flexor Couch Stretch
1. Kneel on 1 knee behind your couch or against a wall, with your right leg in front.
2. Bend your left knee
3. Place your left knee against the back of your couch or wall.
4. Raise your torso to a neutral spine position (i.e. standing straight and tall).
5. Hold the position for up to four minutes.
6. Switch sides and repeat.
#2 The Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish Get-Up is a full body exercise that has helpedtake me to the next level in my career. I spend 20 to 30 minutes a day with this movement:
- Shoulder mobility and stability
- Hip stability
- Hip and leg mobility and active flexibility.
If you’ve never done a Turkish Get-up before, you’ll need a kettlebell. I recommend starting with no more than 10 to 15 lbs and moving up from there.
1. Roll onto your back and hold the kettlebell in your right hand, your arm extended, directly over your chest.
2. Bend your right leg to 90 degrees, and place your left arm away from your body at 45 degrees.
3. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell, squeeze the handle, and keep your right arm extended as you sit up—leaning onto your left elbow, and then your left hand.
4. Push from the heel your right leg and drive your hips in the air and into full hip extension. There should be a straight line from bell in your right hand down to your left hand on the group.
5. Sweep your left leg back and through to a half kneeling position, right leg in front.
6. Taking the hand off the floor straighten your body. Take your eyes off the kettlebell and look forwards.
7. Drive from the front heel and stand upright—arm extended overhead.
8. Steady yourself and then reverse the movement.
9. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side per set.
#3 Post-workout Cool Down
I’ve never been good at post-workout cool downs, but I know they had a huge impact on my 2016 Crossfit Games season. Cooling down for 10 to 15 minutes on a bike, or rower or jogging at 75% effort after a hard workout can be beneficial. I’ve found that a post-workout cool down may help reduce my muscle soreness after a hard strenuous workout. I don’t want to miss my workout because of some soreness, so I incorporate a cool down into my routine!
Try incorporating these three practices into your routine so you can go into your best season as the rec leagues gear back up.
Note: Consult your health care provider before starting any exercise regimen.