Home > Training > Importance of Upper Body Workouts

Importance of Upper Body Workouts

You will typically find more articles, blog posts, forums, and videos focusing on lower body and core strength in regards to exercises you should do to be a successful goaltender. It seems that a lot of goalie’s out there do little or completely ignore any upper body exercises. It is true you need to be a great skater and have unbelievable core strength to be an awesome goalie, but you’d be surprised how much of an important role your upper body factors in as well.

The idea for this post came to me during an intense super-set, shoulders/chest workout with my friend. As I was doing shoulder front raises (praying my arms didn’t fall off :)) I started thinking about certain save situations where you have to pull your stick hand up to make the save and other saves where you have to involve your arms. From there I started to see how much a goalie moves their arms during a game.

Every time you get into a variation of your stance you have to move your arms into position. For your glove hand (starting from your shoulder) you need to angle your arm, bend your elbow, and cock your wrist. Your stick hand placement is very similar to setting up your glove hand, except that your forearm and wrist is turned towards you and pointing down. This is just for your stance.

What about the constant movements you make around the crease, locking up against the post, preventing a back-door play, going paddle down, playing the puck, making a glove save, covering the puck, deflecting shots, cleaning the ice away from the crease, etc…? All of these actions heavily involve your arms and upper body. If you do not build up the strength, flexibility, and endurance in your upper body it is going to impact your game severely.

Think about your typical cover situation. You make a save without a rebound and cover the puck. You are down and bending over your glove hand with your stick in paddle down protecting in the front. Let’s say a player comes in chopping at you trying to rip the puck out (which we know happens all the time). If you are not strong enough they will be able to move your stick out of the way and lift up your glove hand.

If you do not build up forearm and wrist/grip strength they will fatigue easily over the course of the game and it will become difficult holding your stick tight, putting it in the right position for your stance, etc… Going with the same idea when it comes to your shoulders and upper back, over time your glove hand reactions will be slower, your timing for deflecting pucks with your stick will be off, etc…

I am not suggesting that you take time away from your lower body and core workouts. What I am suggesting is that you make your workouts more well rounded by incorporating upper body exercises and stretching techniques as well.

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