9 Reasons To Use Kettlebells for Hockey Training
Kettlebell training has been a huge hit around the world. Athletes, coaches, and fitness enthusiasts have turned towards this incredible method as it combines strength training, core stabilization, coordination, cardiovascular conditioning and dynamic mobility into their routines. Many coaches have started incorporating kettlebells into their hockey training – and with great results.
Here are our top 9 reasons hockey players should use kettlebells:
1. Full hip extension
One excellent example of a workout that incorporates kettlebells is a ballistic lift called the swing. Hockey players spend most of their time with their knees, ankles, hips, and spine in flexion which reduces their posture to a shortened position. Their body is taxed even when they’re not playing, such as when they’re at home, or traveling in a vehicle.
A kettlebell swing helps to get a hip extension that lengthens the muscles in the body, which are shortened due to that prone hockey playing posture. Performing a swing can also help a player find out whether he or she has trouble extending the hips and requires additional work on the lower body area.
2. Cardiovascular training
If you haven’t added kettlebell training to your regular cardio routine, you’re missing out. Kettlebell training is a perfect addition to a power-packed HIIT routine as compared to a steady state cardio session. Hockey training with kettlebells is fun in a brutal and challenging way. Thus it gives players a sense of accomplishment and empowerment while training for a game.
The fitness regimen is overall much more efficient at helping you improve your cardiovascular fitness and elevating your heart rate to the roof. Since almost any workout that incorporates kettlebells is a power exercise, we recognize it as an effective stamina booster.
To kick things up a notch, try combining your strength routine with your aerobic activities using kettlebells.
Kettlebells are so easy to handle and adjustable to each person’s requirements. They can be incorporated into regular activities such as moderate skipping and jogging. You can take a 60-second break after each set, and as your conditioning improves, you can increase intensity and reduce the number of breaks.
3. Different from barbells and dumbbells
If you’ve picked up a kettlebell, you’ll know that there is a huge difference between strength training with a kettlebell and strength training with other regular power equipment.
Hockey training with kettlebells allows players to recruit more stabilizer muscles due to the kettlebell’s off-centered weight. This allows them to target more muscles via a wider ROM.
Dumbbells and barbells don’t have an off-centered weight. Therefore, they don’t work stabilizing muscles to the same extent.
Working the stabilizing muscles in the body is extremely important for athletes, especially hockey players.
4. Conditioning tool
Performing a kettlebell swing can be an excellent conditioning method for hockey players. Even injured players can use kettlebells as a conditioning tool. Since a kettlebell is so versatile, it can be used by injured players in whatever way they feel comfortable.
For example, a person with an injured arm, shoulder or wrist may not be able to lift weights using both arms, but he or she may work with a kettlebell doing single arm movements, like the snatch, clean, and one hand swing. Players can then return to their regular routine using heavier kettlebells and higher intensities once they have fully recovered.
5. Reduced lower back pain
Many people have, in fact, cured their lower back pain with kettlebell training. Your glute muscles are largely involved in kettlebell training, which makes them stronger and more active during all forms of movements you make.
Many people typically overuse their lower back because they aren’t employing their gluteal muscles while lifting or extending the hips.
This taxes lower back muscles and causes the ever so vexing, lower back pain, which is common for many athletes.
Note that your lower back is not designed to work for your glutes so if you want your lower back to stop complaining, you need to perform more active movements that work the gluteal muscles.
6. Improves bad shoulders
Kettlebell training can be used to rehabilitate a bad shoulder and boost its mobility, strength, and stability. This can lower the risk of separated or dislocated shoulders common amongst hockey players.
7. Goblet squats
Goblet squats are so amazing we feel they deserve a section all to themselves. Leg and gluteal strength are critical for hockey players but performing double leg squats with a loaded back or front may be injurious.
Performing a squat with a kettlebell provides greater control for the player and allows the squat to be done effectively and safely.
8. Greater coordination
Your brain can recognize movements. However, your muscles cannot.
Hockey training with kettlebells will make you more coordinated and allow the body to work as one whole unit instead of a confused mess.
Each exercise utilizes multiple joints and muscle groups that move simultaneously, thus requiring more kinesthetic awareness and coordination.
Often performed in new and unfamiliar ways, kettlebell training is different from traditional strength training methods in that it requires practice to master which brings greater rewards to players.
9. Increased focus
Kettlebell training requires coordination and concentration. You can’t just pick a kettlebell up and throw it around without being mindful about technique.
With each lift, you need to focus on the movement you’re going to make. This is why kettlebells are highly recommended athletic tools. They increase mental focus, coordination, and strength at the same time.
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J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jan;26(1):16-27.Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads.