Another skating blogger, Mary (who writes the blog “Fit & Fed”) posted an entry detailing the off-ice workout that she does for hip and knee pain. This reminded me of a post that I did on my own off-ice routine, which has undergone quite a few changes since October 2014.
Since last April, I have been seeing a terrific physical therapist who works with what is called “Postural Restoration,” an approach that targets asymmetries and imbalances that negatively affect muscle function and alignment. I’ve worked with Sarah in several one-on-one sessions; I also been taking her weekly class. This class is really fun, though challenging; the exercises use a Pilates springboard and props but are modified to target and activate key muscles that contribute to asymmetries. I always spend the subsequent 24 hours marveling at how many of my muscles might go otherwise unnoticed if not for this class. Some of these exercises are from her; others were suggested by other therapists or my helpful coaches.
I’ll start off by saying that throughout the day I try to do the following:
- Stand up straight, tighten my core, and lift out of my hips. (When I do this correctly, I can feel certain muscles (glute and core) kicking in on the left side, and sometimes feel tightness in my left hip. I take this as a good sign.)
- Short foot and other foot exercises (like pointing and flexing, or heel raises).
First thing in the morning and late in the evening I do some combination of the following:
- Exercises to fire up the left glute and core: such as the supine semi extension and glute max exercises.
- Exercises for the left adductor: on my right side and the hip lift at the wall (I used to do this with a balloon).
- Gluteus medius: instead of clamshells, I’ve been doing this “heel slide.”
- Forward and side planks; pushups
- Hip flexor stretching; lunges; squats
- Foot exercises with a theraband tied around the bedpost. Heel raises.
- Pilates core exercises (rolling like a ball, dead bug, and others).
I have been playing with some additional exercises for my hamstrings and glutes. I’ve been trying out the single leg deadlift, which I used to do much more easily a few years ago but now feels like it should be abbreviated to “the single dead.” I found a series of exercises designed for hockey players that might be useful, though I think I’ll stay away from the ones that involve chains, at least for now.
I’m pretty good about exercises, but I don’t think I’d be nearly as diligent if I weren’t skating. As Mary noted, skating is a great incentive to go to the gym! In my case, no gym is currently necessary, just a yoga mat, a wall, and a few props.