Side differences and hip mobility reduce power among top ice hockey players

 

Looking to maximize performance on ice? Find out how body mobility might help you do that!

Kiekko-Espoo U20 (age group 16-20) is a Finnish pro ice hockey team that plays in the Jr. A SM-Liiga (Finnish Elite League). They are one of the pioneers of testing and improving athletic performance in ice hockey.

Kiekko-Espoo U20 was tested on various ways in running accelerations, vertical jumps and stationary biking that was followed by TE3 Mobility Analysis. The main findings were the following:

1. Significant side differences among most players. 

Eg. 80% of the players had side differences above 5 degrees in trunk rotation. The ones that had worse side differences were able produce less power in all performance tests (running, jumping and biking).
Trunk rotation

2. Rectus femoris mobility was exceptionally limited for most of the players. 

On average, the gap is 23 degrees suggesting that mobility training on hips is likely to result in significant performance improvement.

Hip extension

3. Based on the analysis, it appears that by better body mobility, running acceleration can be improved by 5% and vertical jump by 10%. 

Vertical jump & acceleration test results are already at a great level and in general, players managed to improve test results from May to August and all the way to December.

“It is very motivating and interesting for both the coaching team and the players to notice that through tailored mobility exercises it is possible to improve results to an even higher level. It is well known fact that a sport like ice hockey creates mobility issues and compromised structural balance. Through TE3 Mobility Analysis it finally possible to measure these imbalances and create specific, personal mobility exercises to balance out body. At Kiekko-Espoo we trust that these findings help to improve performance, avoid injuries and grow the sport of hockey on a wider scale” says Jussi-Pekka Kurtti, the Director of Athletic Performance at Kiekko-Espoo.

Measuring one ice hockey team doesn’t provide statistically fully proven certainty. However, the results of the analysis are logical when observed also on individual level. TE3 keeps extending analysis work and will soon have significant pool of reference values that have not been measured before.

Exercises to improve performance

Based on our conclusions, it is important to hit the target zone and minimize side differences in order to jump high or run fast. If you lack mobility (you reach the red zone), you need an exercise that increases mobility. If you have hypermobility (you reach the blue zone), you need an exercise that increase strength. 

It is important to perform the exercises as symmetrically as possible, so that your body doesn’t develop side differences.

INCREASE MOBILITY IN TRUNK ROTATION
T-spine rotation (seated)
  1. Activate the TE3 Mobility Stick vibration mode “stretch rotation”
  2. Choose an angle that is the left/right average  of your TE3 Mobility Analysis results in trunk rotation
  3. Sit in a straight upright position
  4. Place the stick on your front shoulders
  5. Rotate your body to the side until the stick vibrates
  6. Try to reach the vibration on both sides 
  7. Repeat for 1 minute
INCREASE MOBILITY IN RECTUS FEMORIS

Bend knee & lunge

  1. Activate the TE3 Mobility Stick vibration mode “avoid bending” to guide the movement straight
  2. Take a wide grip on the stick and lift it above your head
  3. Take a lunge position
  4. Place one foot on a ball/bench so that the knee is slightly bent
  5. Slowly push your hips towards the floor and return to starting position
  6. Repeat for 30-40 seconds on both sides⠀

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