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Stride Dynamics: Unveiling Hockey Biomechanics - Part 5: Recovery or Swing phase


While termed “recovery,” this phase primarily serves as preparation. Initial contact and single-support gliding establish alignment, while single-support propulsion generates power and speed. The recovery phase readies the skater for the next cycle.


In this phase, the skater returns the skate to a neutral position under their body. This alignment is vital for harnessing power from the glutes during the initial contact phase.

Additionally, aligning the skate beneath the body allows for a longer push-off distance, contributing to stride power and speed. It also helps prevent inward knee collapse.


The recovery phase is a preparatory stage that resets the skater’s position for the next stride, ensuring efficiency and power in the skating cycle.


Article Index:


 

Anatomy and Biomechanics


Hip Flexors: Key Players in Hockey Stride Recovery


The hip flexors, incorporating muscles like the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, are pivotal in both the initial contact and recovery phases of a hockey stride. During recovery, their primary function is to elevate the leg, setting the stage for the next stride. This elevation is more than a simple lifting action; it requires precise coordination and timing to synchronize with the skating stride's rhythm.


Compromised hip flexors, due to strain, fatigue, or weakness, can detrimentally affect a player's ability to efficiently execute this leg lift. This inefficiency can disrupt the stride rhythm, slow down subsequent strides, and may lead to compensatory overuse of other muscles or altered stride mechanics, potentially resulting in muscle imbalances and overuse injuries.


To ensure an effective recovery phase, maintaining the strength and flexibility of the hip flexors is essential. This can be achieved through specific strengthening exercises, appropriate warm-up routines, and a focus on skating technique. Recognizing the significance of hip flexors in recovery is vital for training and performance analysis in hockey.


Adductors: Essential for Skating Efficiency


The adductor muscles, including adductor longus and magnus, located in the inner thigh, are crucial during the recovery phase of a hockey stride. They are primarily responsible for adduction - moving the leg toward the body's midline.

In the recovery phase, these muscles work collectively to realign the leg back under the body, a key movement for preparing for the next stride. This alignment ensures optimal balance and readiness for the next phase of contact.


When adductors are weakened or compromised due to injury or fatigue, the player's ability to efficiently bring the leg back can be significantly impacted. This inefficiency can lead to an uncoordinated recovery phase, resulting in a less effective stride pattern that reduces speed and increases injury risk due to compensatory movements.

Moreover, impaired adductors can affect a player's stability and balance, as these muscles are integral in controlling the legs' lateral movements.


Therefore, ensuring the strength and functionality of the adductor muscles is vital for a powerful and efficient hockey stride. Achieving this involves targeted strengthening and flexibility exercises and a focus on proper skating technique. Understanding the role of adductors in stride recovery is crucial for developing effective training regimens that address this critical aspect of skating biomechanics.


 

Motion Specific Release


Hockey Biomechanics Part 5: Terminal Stride

Dr. Abelson demonstrates MSR procedures used to release restrictions, helping to improve AROM, address muscle imbalances and improve overall performance.


 

Conclusion


The recovery phase in hockey is more than a transitional period; it's a crucial stage for setting up an efficient and powerful stride. This phase involves aligning the skate beneath the body, essential for utilizing glute power in the initial contact and enhancing stride power and speed. The hip flexors, especially the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, are key in this phase, tasked with elevating the leg for the next stride. This action demands not only strength but also precision in coordination and timing.


Equally important are the adductor muscles, like the adductor longus and magnus, which facilitate bringing the leg back to the body's midline, crucial for optimal balance and readiness for the next movement. Compromises in these muscle groups can lead to inefficient strides and an increased risk of injuries due to compensatory movements. Thus, incorporating targeted exercises and proper skating techniques to maintain these muscles' functionality is vital for enhancing hockey performance. Recognizing the biomechanical significance of the recovery phase is key to improving training and performance in the sport.


 

Dr. Brian Ableson - The Author


Dr. Abelson's approach in musculoskeletal health care reflects a deep commitment to evidence-based practices and continuous learning. In his work at Kinetic Health in Calgary, Alberta, he focuses on integrating the latest research with a compassionate understanding of each patient's unique needs. As the developer of the Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems, he views his role as both a practitioner and an educator, dedicated to sharing knowledge and techniques that can benefit the wider healthcare community. His ongoing efforts in teaching and practice aim to contribute positively to the field of musculoskeletal health, with a constant emphasis on patient-centered care and the collective advancement of treatment methods.


 

Revolutionize Your Practice with Motion Specific Release (MSR)!


MSR, a cutting-edge treatment system, uniquely fuses varied therapeutic perspectives to resolve musculoskeletal conditions effectively.


Attend our courses to equip yourself with innovative soft-tissue and osseous techniques that seamlessly integrate into your clinical practice and empower your patients by relieving their pain and restoring function. Our curriculum marries medical science with creative therapeutic approaches and provides a comprehensive understanding of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment methods.


Our system offers a blend of orthopedic and neurological assessments, myofascial interventions, osseous manipulations, acupressure techniques, kinetic chain explorations, and functional exercise plans.


With MSR, your practice will flourish, achieve remarkable clinical outcomes, and see patient referrals skyrocket. Step into the future of treatment with MSR courses and membership!


 

References


  1. Abelson, B., Abelson, K., & Mylonas, E. (2018, February). A Practitioner's Guide to Motion Specific Release, Functional, Successful, Easy to Implement Techniques for Musculoskeletal Injuries (1st edition). Rowan Tree Books.

  2. Bracko, M. R., Fellingham, G. W., Hall, L. T., Fisher, A. G., & Cryer, W. (1998). Performance skating characteristics of professional ice hockey forwards. Sports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation, 8, 251–263.

  3. Chau, E. G., Sim, F. H., Stauffer, R. N., & Johannson, K. G. (1973). Mechanics of ice hockey injuries. In Bleustein J. L. (Ed.), American Society of Mechanical Engineers: Mechanics and Sport.

  4. Hay, J. G. (1993). In The biomechanics of sports techniques (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall.

  5. Lafontaine, D., & Lamontagne, M. (2003). 3-D Kinematics Using Moving Cameras. Part 1: Development and Validation of the Mobile Data Acquisition System. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 19, 4.

  6. Manners, T. W. (2004). Sport-Specific Training for Ice Hockey. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 26, 16–21.

  7. Montgomery, D. L., Nobes, K., Pearsall, D. J., & Turcotte, R. A. (2004). Task analysis (hitting, shooting, passing and skating) of professional hockey players. ASTM Special Technical Publication.

  8. Nobes, K. J., Montgomery, D. L., Pearsall, D. J., Turcotte, R. A., Lefebvre, R., & Whittom, F. (2003). A Comparison of Skating Economy on-Ice and on the Skating Treadmill. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 28, 1–11.

  9. Post, A., Oeur, A., Hoshizaki, T. B., & Gilchrist, M. D. (2011). Examination of the relationship of peak linear and angular acceleration to brain deformation metrics in hockey helmet impacts. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, 16, 511–519.

  10. Tuominen, M., Stuart, M. J., Aubry, M., Kannus, P., & Parkkari, J. (2015). Injuries in men’s international ice hockey: a 7-year study of the International Ice Hockey Federation Adult World Championship Tournaments and Olympic Winter Games. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49, 30–36.

  11. Turcotte, R. A., Pearsall, D. J., & Montgomery, D. L. (2001). An apparatus to measure stiffness properties of ice hockey skate boots. Sports Engineering, 4, 43–48.


 

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