Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hockey players using Pilates to fight injury

From Hockey players using Pilates to fight injury at CBC sports.

Cassie Campbell gets Stephanie Davis' thoughts on the benefit Pilates for Hockey Players. Stephanie Davis has worked with Calgary-based hockey players such Martin Gelinas, Rhett Warrener, Braydon Coburn, Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera. Most recently she helped Theoren Fleury attempt his comeback to the NHL.

Here are some of Davis' theories on why hockey players suffer groin injuries:

We have weak feet:
Due to the stiff hockey skates we wear, there is no need for our feet to be strong. However, without strong feet we do not have a proper balance point. This in turn makes everything unbalanced from the bottom up. I found this evident when I first tried speed skates. With no support I really felt that I was going to break my ankles! I did one loop and that was that!

We have a weaker lower core: 
We have weak stabilizing muscles near the pelvis area. This is almost like comparing our body to a car that has a loose wheel. If one wheel is loose then the others can’t do their job. If the core is not doing its job, other parts will over work, like our hip flexors, or groin.

We lack flexibility: 
The reason why more players have started taking up Pilates and yoga is because they realize the need to have more balance when it comes to overall strength and flexibility. Stretching the myofascial (which is painful to me) is like giving the joints WD40 so they are free to move. One side might not have the same range as the other, but balancing this out is the key. When the leg goes out in a hockey stride, it might not move as freely as it should or it will with strain due to lack of flexibility. Over time, this general hockey movement becomes strenuous because the leg doesn’t come back to the centre of the body. This causes an imbalance just from skating and adds more load to different areas, like the groin. In order to optimize power, an athlete not only needs to build strength by lifting weights, but they need to have a better balance between strength and flexibility

Our quads are too strong: 
Every motion we do is based on quad strength. However, there needs to be a balance. All the anterior leg muscles (i.e. quad, hip flexors) tend to be stronger then the posterior muscles (hamstring, glutes) causing a very big imbalance.

More at:   Hockey players using Pilates to fight injury at CBC sports.

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