What are common muscles injured in ice hockey?

Levi Harrison, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Injuries sustained during ice hockey are fairly common. In my orthopedic practice, I have treated hockey players with injuries to the lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings and core muscles. It is so imperative to have extensive core strengthening exercises, flexibility stretches and leg conditioning in an integrative hockey fitness program.
Muscles that are commonly injured in hockey include: hip flexors, adductors (inner thigh), and lower back. To prevent injuries, it is important to have good flexibility and core strength. Use a foam roller on tight areas like the hip flexors and inner thigh. Foam rolling is a form of self-massage in which you apply pressure with a foam roller to tight areas for 30 seconds. This breaks up adhesions or "knots" in the muscle and relaxes the muscle to allow for a better static stretch. Once you have completed the foam rolling, perform static stretches for these same tight areas and hold the stretch position for 30 seconds. To perform the kneeling hip flexor stretch, place one knee on the ground and the other leg out front, similar to a lunge position with the back knee on the ground. Keep the back flat and chest up as you push your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor area of the leg on the same side as the knee that is on the ground. Move slowly into and out of the position and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Make sure you activate your core by drawing-in the belly button to the spine. For the inner thigh, sit on a stability ball and extend one leg out to the side, keeping the other knee bent. Lean toward the knee that is bent, keeping the back flat until you feel the stretch in the inner thigh and hold this position for 30 seconds. Make sure you activate your core by drawing-in the belly button to the spine. To strengthen the lower back, perform the prone-iso abs and back extension exercises. To perform the prone-iso ab, lie on your stomach with the elbows under the shoulders and the forearms on the ground. Lift your body up slowly until you are in a flat back position, hold, and then return to the ground. Perform 1-2 sets of 15 slow repetitions holding at the top for 2 seconds. To perform back extensions, use a 45-degree back extension bench. Holding the hands across the chest and keeping the back flat, lower your body by bending at the hips. Maintain the flat back position until you are parallel to the ground. Hold for 2 seconds in this position and then return to the starting position over a period of 3 seconds using the glutes and hamstrings. Perform 1-2 sets of 15 slow repetitions holding at the top for 2 seconds.

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