Hip Injury Prevention Project

Hip injuries among all hockey players, but goalies specifically, continue to be a major concern facing this generation of players. It may be due to perfecting the butterfly from a young age, rule changes that impact equipment regulations, or a combination of multiple factors both on and off the ice. Regardless, injury prevention is now, more than ever, a critical piece of an athlete’s training.

The Foundation for Goaltending Research and Education, with direction from four certified and well-respected strength and conditioning coaches, created a simple, hip-specific warm-up routine to ensure that goalies from ages 8 to 18 are being proactive in maintaining hip health. This goalie-specific, pre-skate routine is meant to supplement a team’s normal dynamic warm-up, not replace it.

Mark Baldwin (Sports and Physical Therapy Associates), Devan McConnell (Director of Sports Performance at UMass Lowell), Kevin Neeld (President of Endeavor Sports Performance in NJ), and Maria Mountain (HockeyTrainingPro.com) agree that properly activating the muscles in and around the hip joint pre-skate is crucial in helping prevent hip injuries. These eight stretches and movements target the major muscles and can be completed in just 7-10 minutes.

List of Stretches

3-Way Ankle Mobilization

5 repetitions in each position on each leg

  1. Start in a split stance position with your front foot about 4 inches away from a wall. Transfer weight towards front foot until you feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon. Make sure your front heel always stays flat on the ground.
  2. Bring your knee inside your big toe (as if you are dropping into butterfly position) as you transfer your weight towards the wall.
  3. Bring your knee outside your baby toe as you transfer your weight towards the wall.

1/2 Kneeling Quad Mobilization

Repeat 8 times, then switch to other leg and repeat

  1. Start in a lunge position with your right knee on the ground and your left leg out in front of you at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Reach back and grab your right ankle, not your foot, and pull towards your butt. Make sure to keep your spine in a neutral position.
  3. Contract your right glute and let your hip move forward to feel a deeper stretch.

90-90 Hip Stretch

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch to other leg and repeat

  1. Start in the sitting position. Drop your left leg in front of you making a 90 degree between your thigh and calf.
  2. Bring your right leg behind you making a second 90 degree angle.
  3. Your front calf should be parallel to your back thigh and your front foot should be parallel to your back calf and you should feel a stretch in your left glute.
  4. Bring your chest forward towards your front leg to feel a deeper stretch.

Split Hamstring Stretch

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides

  1. Start in a lunge position with your right knee on the ground and your left leg out in front of you at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Slowly slide your left foot forwards as far as you can while keeping your chest up tall.

*As you get more flexible and get closer to the ground with your hips, you will be able to support yourself on your hands.

Until then, you can put one of your leg pads under your hips horizontally and have your hands rest on it.

1/2 Kneeling Abductor Mobility

Rock forward and back eight times, switch legs and repeat

  1. Start on two knees with your butt sitting on your heels and your hands on the ground in front of you.
  2. Slide your left foot straight out to the side, keeping your left foot flat on the ground to feel a stretch in your groin.
  3. Slowly rock forward and back eight times, then switch legs and repeat.

Clamshells

2 sets of 10 repetitions, switch sides and repeat

  1. Start by lying on your side with your hips and knees bent 45 degrees and your legs stacked on top of one another.
  2. Keep your heels, hips, and head in a straight line.
  3. Keeping your feet in contact with each other, raise your upper knee as high as you can without letting your pelvis or hips roll back.
  4. Don’t allow your lower leg to move off the floor.
  5. Pause, then return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions on one side, then repeat with the other leg on top.

Single-Leg Hip Lift

2 sets of 10 repetitions, switch legs and repeat

  1. Start by lying on your back.
  2. Bend your left leg so your foot is flat on the ground and lift your right knee up and into your chest.
  3. Push through your left heel to lift your hips, forming a straight line between your knees and head by contracting your hamstring muscles.
  4. Pause at the top position.
  5. Slowly lower down to the floor and repeat for two sets of 10 with each leg.

Side-to-Side Lunges

8 times in each direction

  1. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a giant step out to your right, keeping your left foot in the same position, and sink into a squat by straightening your left leg.
  3. Keep your chest up tall the whole time.
  4. Push through your right heel to return to the standing position.
  5. Repeat exercise eight times in each direction.