Maintaining Shoulder Health in Ice Hockey

Dr. Janda’s Upper-Crossed Syndrome, classified as weak/inhibited deep neck flexors, lower traps and serratus along with tight/facilitated pectorals, upper traps and levator scapulae, is commonly seen in hockey populations. As a result of this you’ll find many athletes have malpositioned cervical spine/thorax leading to ‘neck breathing’ and not allowing the diaphragm to work effectively, which leads to poor thoracic mobility and a compromised function of the scapula.

Moral of the story…hockey players tend to have some cranky shoulders which can lead to both impingement and potential injuries to the shoulder while absorbing force on the ice. What do we do to counteract these issues;

  • Daily Diaphragmatic Breathing
  • Daily Thoracic Spine Mobility
  • Upper Body Pressing: as the season progresses we will perform less and less bench press with a straight bar and add in other variations that are more shoulder friendly like landmine presses, push ups, and 1DB bench press

  • Upper Body Pulling: our strength program would be considered imbalanced – we always perform more sets/reps of upper body pulling (chin ups, rows, etc) then we do pushing (bench, overhead press, etc) to try to create more balance across the upper body

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