Everything in our body works from the ground up.
If you have problems in your knees, hips, or back there are very good odds it could be something stemming from your feet or ankles. For this reason, I have all of my clients’ train from the ground up.
This video is going over three balance progressions you can add to your warm-up routine either before skating or training in the gym to help your body turn on those proprioceptors!
To start: TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF!!!
Wearing shoes all the time and especially while training may do more harm than you know. Shoes bunch our toes up when they were designed to spread, feel, and grip the ground.
Shoes also make it much easier for us to balance due to their wider surface area and arch support. For these reasons, I want you to perform these balance progressions with no shoes or socks on.
Level 1 Balance
Lift your right foot in the air so that you are balancing only on your left foot. Slightly bend the left knee. Spread the toes in the left foot and try to root yourself into the ground. If you need to, find a spot on the floor to stare at to help you really dial in your balance. Thirty seconds each foot for one to two sets.
Level 2 Balance
Once you feel confident with your Level 1 Balance, set yourself up the same way, spread your toes, bend the knee, root yourself into the ground BUT this time we are going to bring some eye movement into your balance work.
First, I want you to look around the room. The more you look around and the faster you move your eyes, head, and shoulders the more challenging it will be on your vestibular system to keep your balance.
After you feel confident with some eye movement, I will have you use your thumbs as tools to train your peripheral vision. This will challenge your eyes and your body in a way most have never thought of.
If you have a hard time with this at first, THAT IS OKAY! Rome was not built in a day. The more you practice this, the better you will get at it! Again, one to two sets for thirty seconds each foot.
Level 3 Balance
Once you have mastered Level 1 and Level 2, now you can change the ground surface to add another layer of difficulty.
Instead of balancing on the hard ground, now I want you to balance on a softer surface which will require those proprioceptors to fire much harder.
If you do not have access to a balance pad that is okay, it’s not an excuse! You can perform Level 3 by standing on a folded-up blanket, a sweatshirt or two, a firm pillow, etc. Where there is a will, there is a way, so FIND A WAY.
When progressing to balancing on an object be sure to start with the easiest version of keeping your eyes and body still. Once you have mastered that then you can begin to look around the room and use your thumbs to work on your peripheral vision!
You should notice some pretty rapid improvement in these drills if you are performing them every day.
Training, like hockey and life, is all about the details. If you focus on the little things in your warm-up/activation routine, I promise, you will start to see better results from the big things in your training!!!
Give these 3 balance progressions a try and let us know your thoughts. And stay tuned, as I will be sharing many more exercises and training tips with The Hockey Players Club community to help you train like a real hockey player this season!
Find more great hockey training tips and insights from Jeff LoVecchio at RIPT Hockey and the Hockey Think Tank website, Podcast, YouTube, and Facebook. And check out his Give More Be More (GMBM) apparel.