Hockey is a team sport in which teams play against each other in an attempt to manoeuvre a ball or a puck into the goal of the opponent using a hockey stick.
Just like any other sport, hockey too requires the players to warm up and cool down before and after playing the sport to ensure no sore muscles and better movement.
A proper warm-up is highly essential to ensure a steady increase in heart rate, proper supply of oxygen in the blood and muscles and for the prevention of injury. There are a number of muscles which should be targeted during warm-ups and here are a few exercises which could be used to do that-
Running is one of the basic and most important warm-up exercises which are done before playing any sport. It not only helps increase the heart rate but also helps loosen the muscles. It helps raise body temperature, increase nerve impulses and prevents any sudden muscle catches. Though hockey is mostly an anaerobic sport, aerobic exercises such as running play a very important role in increasing speed and agility of players.
High Knees & Butt Kicks
High knees are done by jogging forward while making 90-degree angles with your knees. Butt kicks, on the other hand, are done by bending the knees while the back of your foot gets off the ground while attempting to hit your buttocks with your heels. These exercises develop strength and endurance of the quads, they lead to longer strides and faster running. These are exercises which can be done almost anywhere and for a preferable period of 25 to 30 seconds.
Arm Swings and Arm Rotations are great dynamic stretching exercises that engage the muscles of the upper body. They warm up the shoulders, chest, arms and upper back. It also improves flexibility. Arm swings are done by crossing your arms in front followed by quickly bringing your arms back as far as you can. This movement should be repeated. Arms rotation, on the other hand, is done by simply creating circles with your arms. It should be done in a forward and backward motion.
Lateral squats strengthen the legs and emphasize activity of the inner thigh muscles. It creates balanced hip strength and prevents knee injuries. Lateral squats are done by keeping feet wide apart. They should be wider than the shoulder width and arms should be raised to shoulder height. Bend your right knee and push your hips backwards in such a way that you lower yourself down over your right foot. The left leg must be straight and heels have to be on the floor. Return to the centre position by straightening out right leg and the same should be done with the left leg as well.
Hip exercises are done to loosen the lower back and hip muscles. They strengthen the core, improves flexibility and trims the waist. To do standing hip circles you must stand straight. Raise a knee to 90 degrees and open the hips as far and wide as possible by attempting to make a big circle with your knee. This should be done a number of times with one leg and then repeated with the other leg.
Frankenstein is done by slowly moving forward while extending your arms in front of you in such a way that it is parallel to the ground. With each stride forward the leg should be straight and raised high enough to touch your hand. This works the hamstrings and glutes.
Apart from the warm-up exercises mentioned above there a number of other exercises which can be done for warm up as well such as- lunges, side squats, one leg sits, push-ups, flutter kicks etc.
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