Other Hockey Tips

Other Hockey Tips

Here are a few HockeyShot Tips to improve your hockey skills!

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1. Checking


Download USA Hockey Magazine Checking Article (150 kb)


2. Nutrition Tips

Proper nutrition is an area often ignored when it comes to hockey players. However, by eating the right foods, you will have much more energy during games, have a much more positive mental attitude and be able to recover from injuries a lot faster. With all the fad diets out there, it can become confusing on knowing what to eat to fuel our bodies. Here are a few simple nutrition guidelines to follow that can help you be a lot healthier.

Focus on a diet containing healthy foods

Try to include as many as these wonderfully nutritious foods as possible; Fresh fruits and vegetables, Whole Grains (whole wheat pastas, whole wheat breads, brown rice, oatmeal, cereals), lean meats (chicken, fish, lean beef), nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, soy nuts), legumes (lentils, beans), eggs, milk or soy milk, yogurt, unsaturated fats (olive oil, salmon, peanut butter) and drink plenty of water (8 glasses / day).

Limit the following foods as much as possible

Sugar (candies, high fructose syrups, sodas, desserts, ice cream), caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas), white flower (white bread, pastries), saturated fats (french fries, red meat, butter, doughnuts). Remember that the key is to avoid as many as these foods as possible, and to replace them with healthier more nutritious foods (mentioned above).

Focus on eating a good combination of carbohydrates / proteins / fats

For each meal, try to have a combination of those three. They are all essential to help fuel your body for hockey and to help you function at your best. Carbohydrates (breads, pastas, sports drinks) will give you the energy you need, protein (leans meats, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, legumes) will help rebuild your muscles and unsaturated fats (salmon, peanut butter, olive / peanut / sunflower oils) will help lower your bad cholesterol and promote better circulation. We recommend consulting a sports nutrition expert to customise an eating plan that best suits your type.

Eat more frequent smaller meals

Eating 3 large meals is not the ideal way to help our bodies function their best. Our digestive systems need just the right amount of foods to be able to function at full capacity. Try to focus on eating 4-6 smaller meals, and don’t eat large amounts between meals. Eating between meals is ok, but focus on smaller snacks (a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, a few nuts or seeds, a banana). You should also avoid eating too much before going to bed. Eating too much before going to bed will have your digestive system working too hard and will take a lot of energy out of you.

Typical Guideline to fuel your body before games or practices

Larger meals should be consumed 3-4 hours before games or practices to insure proper digestion has been done before you get on the ice. If you don’t have time to eat a meal, try having a large snack 1-2 hours before game time. Focus on snacks or meals that have lots of carbohydrates, as they will give you the fuel you need to perform at your best. The key is to make sure you have enough nutrients in your body to perform at your best without getting tired.

  Download USA Hockey Magazine Nutrition Articles (150 kb each)

  1. Offseason Nutrition
  2. Proper Nutrition
  3. Energy Drinks

3. Hockey Recovery Tips

Hockey is an intense fast paced game that can leave you exhausted, tired and make your muscles feel soar the next day. Most players spend 3-5 days per week on the ice so knowing how to recover faster is very important if you want to avoid running out of energy or getting ill from exhaustion. By applying a few tips, you can recover your muscles a lot quicker and more efficiently. Here is a list of things you can do to help give your body what it needs to recover faster from strenuous hockey workouts.

Drink lots of water or sports drinks during practices or games

Not getting enough fluids in your body during games or practices will accelerate your overall fatigue and heat stress. As your body temperature increases, performance decreases, fatigue increases and you can become ill. Insufficient hydration can lead to these much faster. The best way to stay hydrated and fuelled for hockey workouts is to drink water or sports drinks during workouts (we recommend a high quality sports drink as it also contains carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes, which will give you more energy than simply consuming water). You should consume 4 to 8 ounces of water or sports drinks every 10-15 minutes. (Avoid sports drink with too much sugar).

Assure to give you body the rest it needs

Nutrition and proper hydration alone are not enough to assure your body to fully recover from strenuous hockey workouts. Rest and sleep are also very important. To assure your body has the necessary rest it needs, you should aim at having at least 8-10 hours of quality sleep every night (especially the night before your hockey games or practices). If your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, your body will become tired a lot quicker and your performance will suffer from it. You should also try to go to bed no later than 10 O’Clock, as the best sleep quality occurs between 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Also, try to have a few days a week with very little or no exercise to give your body rest to recover faster.

Work on your endurance and stamina

If you lack endurance and stamina, your body will use a lot more energy and become exhausted a lot quicker. For this reason, it is very important that one of your main goals as a player be to become fit and in shape. There are a few ways to do this; 1- Work on conditioning during practices. 2- Undertake cardio-vascular exercises away from the ice (in-line skating, jogging, and biking). Remember however not to over do any exercise you undertake as too much exercise will deplete your body more than it will do you good.

Treat injuries and take time off from hockey if needed

Hockey is a fast paced game with fast intense movements and with contact involved, many injuries can occur. The most typical injuries suffered from hockey players are muscle strains, back ligament sprains, groin strains, hip injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, wrist injuries, hand and finger injuries, head and neck injuries, concussions, contusions and dental injuries. If you suffer from one of those types of injuries, consult a medical professional and follow his recommendations to treat and heal your injury. Many players donÂ’t take the necessary time off to let the injury heal and they end up aggravating the injury. Give your body the time, rest and nutrition it needs to heal.

Here is a simple guideline to follow if you suffer a bruise or strain during a game.

Rest (For most injuries, rest the area until the pain decreases.

For simple sore muscles, however, gentle stretching will reduce stiffness more quickly. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat five to 10 times) – Ice (Ice is the most effective treatment for reducing inflammation, pain and swelling of injured muscles, joints and connective tissues—such as tendons, ligaments, and bruises. Apply ice for 20 minutes every two to three hours while awake. For best results, place crushed ice in a plastic bag and wrap with a moist towel) – Compression (Between icings, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage to help control swelling and provide support. DonÂ’t wrap to tightly!) – Elevation (Raising the injured area above your heart will allow gravity to help reduce swelling by draining excess fluid).


4. Hockey Performance Tips

Hockey is not only demanding physically, but also mentally. Also the mental area of hockey is often ignored, it can make the difference between a good player, and a great one. Here is a list of mental characteristics associated with excellence and top performance. Apply them and you will greatly accelerate your development and performance level as a player.To be in top mental health, remember to eat as many nutritious foods as you can and try getting good quality sleep every night. You will not be in good mental health by eating a poor diet and getting little sleep.

Goal Setting

Setting goals will give you a sense of direction and purpose in what you are trying to attain. Are you trying to make the provincial team, get a hockey scholarship, develop a better shot? Once you have established your goals, work and focus your energy on trying to attain them. Make sure your goals are realistic and remember to not be to hard on yourself if you donÂ’t attain them right away.

Mental Rehearsal (visualisation)

Visualisation is the ability to create a mental model of an event or situation. It is a natural common behaviour and can greatly help you achieve your goals and perform better as a player. For example, if you are trying to develop a stronger slap shot and are having trouble, try visualising yourself executing a good one. By mentally rehearsing yourself achieving what you are striving for, you will increase your chances into developing the desired skill a lot faster. Visualisation will also make you perform a lot better in pressure situations.

Relaxation

To perform at your best, you must be able to relax, especially when your body becomes stressed. To increase your relaxation response, try meditation or deep breathing (deep breath from your abdomen). For simple meditation, find a comfortable quiet area in your house (your room, living room), and try focussing on your breath while letting your thoughts come and go. The key is to become in a very relaxed state without trying to control thoughts. Let go and try relaxing as much as you can. DonÂ’t get discourage if you have trouble attaining relaxation. Meditation takes time to develop. As you become better at it, increase your meditation sessions. You may also want to use relaxation music to help get you in the zone. You may also want to try yoga, tai chi, or other forms of relaxation exercises.

Concentration and Focus

Concentration can be defined as the ability to focus your attention on a selected target or purpose. In hockey, being able to concentrate if essential to becoming a great player. An example of concentration in hockey would be trying to find an area to shoot at to score a goal, or it might be looking for a teammate to pass while being scanned by opposing players. The key is to be able to concentrate on a desired area, without letting other distractions get to you. Improving concentration can be achieved by working on being able to zone your focus on the task at hand. Another trick to increase concentration is to not to overthink or let distractions get to you. During games, focus one shift at a time. Try to refocus your energy when you get distracted and frustrated during a game because you missed a scoring chance, or during a questionable call by an official.

Positive mental attitude and belief

Believing in yourself and being positive can be developed and trained over time. By continually giving yourself positive feedback, you will greatly increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Try replacing negative self-talk patterns by more positive ones (For example, instead of saying “I couldn’t score a goal on this goaltender if my life depended on it” say “I will find a way to score”. Try using positive confident goal oriented statements such as “I will, I can, I am going to”. Also, when visualising, try seeing yourself performing the way you want to (confident, energised, and fully focussed).

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Hockey Shooting & Stickhandling Tips

SHOOTING & STICKHANDLING

Here are a few Hockeyshot Tips to improve your shooting and stickhandling skills

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1. Snap Shot

Slowly pull your leg back while holding your foot with your hand. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Don’t overstretch (if you feel to much pain, you are going to far). Good stretch to help with your leg flexibility.

A) Side to Front Snap Shot

The snap shot is quicker than a wrist shot and more accurate than a slap shot.The most important attribute of a good snap shot is the speed with which youcan release the puck. It’s probably the most widely used shot in hockey today.

One of the most effective snap shot is the low snap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman. The low snap shot is a great weapon especially when used at the point by a defenceman.

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand. Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

B) Back to Front Snap Shot

C) One Timer Snap Shot

  Download USA Hockey Magazine Snap Shot Article (150 kb)


2. Slap Shot

The slap shot is the most powerful and exciting shot in hockey. However, most of the time, the slap shot ends up hitting the boards. If you are to use the slap shot, you need to develop accuracy.

One of the most effective slap shot is the low slap shot. Try to keep the slap shot a few inches from the ice. At that height, your teammates have a good chance of deflecting the puck in the net and the goalie is easily screened by his own defenceman

A) Slap Shot

B) Slap Shot One Timer

Improve your Slapshot Accuracy with these EASY steps

With your eye on your target, draw your stick back between your waist and your shoulder height. In this wind up (slingshot) position, your weight should be on your back leg. Drive your stick down stepping and leaning into the shot transferring your weight forward onto your stick through your lower hand.

Your stick should strike the shooting surface 2 to 3 inches before the puck. The contact with the puck should be made in the middle of the blade or a bit off centered toward the heel. The bending and whipping return of the shaft and the forward motion of the downswing is what creates the powerful force. As the puck rises off the shooting surface, snap your wrists. Continue with a low follow through pointing at the target and resume a balanced position with your weight fully transferred on your front leg.

Hockey Slap Shot Diagram


3. wrist shot

The wrist shot is probably the most effective shot in hockey. It is the most accurate shot and it can be released fairly quickly. This is the shot that a player should learn first. While not as fast as the slap shot, with practice, proper technique and upper body strength, the wrist shot can be a very powerful shot.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. For the wrist shot, move your lower hand halfway down the shaft to add power to the shot. Position your body at a 45-degree angle to the net. Bring the puck behind or even with your back leg lowering your shoulder as you reach back and down with your stick to position the puck. Keep the puck in the middle of the blade with the blade tilted over the puck (rotate your wrists). In this position, your weight should be on your back leg.

Sweep

the puck forward while transferring your weight toward your front foot and rotating your body forward. As the stick blade crosses your body, transfer body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The puck is released when it reaches your front foot and your shoulders are square to the net. At the point of release, your wrists turn causing the stick blade to turn out and lift the puck. After the puck is released, follow through pointing the toe of your stick toward the target. The height of the shot depends on how much you rotate your wrists and how high your follow-through is.

The short wind up wrist shot

is similar to the description above except that the puck is positioned between your back leg and front leg. Starting with your weight on your back leg, you step directly into the shot transferring body weight on your stick while pushing forward with your lower hand and pulling backward with your top hand. The short wind up has a quicker release and should be used when there is little time to prepare and power is not necessarily required.

For the wrist shot advanced shooters

will position the puck on the back third of the blade. When the shot is released, the puck rolls toward the toe of the blade causing a spin on the puck, which provides a faster and more accurate shot.


 

4. Backhand shot

The backhand shot is the most difficult shot to learn. Most goalies fear the backhand shot because its trajectory is so difficult to read. A player will loose many scoring opportunities if he has not mastered the backhand shot. This shot is very effective when cutting in front of the goal or when the pass is made on your backhand side at close range to the net. A player should practice the backhand shot as much if not more than any of the forward shots.

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. Move your hand down one-third the length of the shaft. Bring the puck just behind or even with your back leg. Position the puck on the back third of the blade (in the middle of the straight section close to the shaft). Roll your wrists to tilt the blade over the puck. Keep the line of shooting close enough to your body so that you stay balanced but far enough to provide good arm movement.

In the wind-up position,

Your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck. With your head up looking at your target, move your arms across your body shifting your weight to your front leg (dip your front shoulder down and lean on the stick). You really have to roll your wrists as the shot is released and point the toe of the stick to the target. Follow through until your palm is pointing up. The higher the follow though, the higher the puck will rise.

  Download USA Magazine Backhand Shot Article (150 kb)


5. Hockey Stickhandling

Stick handling is one of the most important fundamental skills in hockey. You need good stick handling skills to play heads up hockey, to take and maintain possession of the puck, to win face-offs, to receive and make passes and to shoot the puck.

All the great puck carriers, great passers and great shooters can stick handle, position and shoot or pass the puck with their head up; this requires a lot of focused repetitive training. Because stick handling is such an integral part of hockey, stick handling should be one of the first things that a player learns and practices.

Hockey players can practice stick handling both on and off the ice. The important thing, especially for young players, is simply to have a stick in their hands and play with a puck. Street hockey games are a great way to develop stick handling skills but a player should also practice stick handling alone to focus on his technique and to learn new skills.

Stick handling can be practiced off the ice in your basement, garage or in your driveway. You can use a ball (tennis, golf or roller hockey) but a puck provides a better simulation. The more the puck and stick slide on the surface, the better it is for stick handling.

Learning stick handling

First, stick handle with your eyes fixed on the puck. Move the puck within a 12 to 18 inch span using a back and forth soft sweeping motion. Develop a comfortable rhythm, do not over handle the puck There should be very little impact and almost no sound.
Practice side-to-side dribble, forward-to-backward dribble and diagonal dribbling. Master stick handling in a stationary position and then practice stick handling while moving forward, sideways and backwards.

  Download USA Magazine Backhand Shot Article (150 kb)

  1. Gap control stickhandling
  2. Stickhandling protection
  3. Stickhandling in traffic

6. Forward Pass

Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the forward pass bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck in the middle of the stick blade. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt over the puck. In this wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than “slapping” at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the pass using a smooth sweeping motion (pull on your stick with your top hand and push on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.


 

7. Backhand pass

The backhand pass is similar to the forehand pass except that it is made with the backside of the blade. Use the proper stick grip and take on the proper hockey stance. To set up for the backhand pass, bring the puck behind your back leg. Keep the puck on the middle straight section of the blade close to the shaft. Rotate your wrist causing the blade to tilt slightly over the puck. In the wind-up position, your body weight should be on the leg closest to the puck.

Passing Tip:

When making a pass you want to use a sweeping motion. Rather than “slapping” at the puck, begin with the puck on the heel of your stick and during the sweeping motion, the puck should spin to the toe of your stick and off to your teammate. Like shooting, remember to point the toe of your stick at your target at the end of your follow through to increase accuracy.

With your head up looking at your target, release the backhand pass using a smooth sweeping motion (push on your stick with your top hand and pull on your stick with your bottom hand). Keep both hands out away from your body and keep adjusting your aim as your stick moves forward and your weight is transferred to your front leg. After the puck is released, follow through with the toe of the stick pointing at the target.


 

8. Specialty Skills (tip ins, poke checks, one timers, saucer passes)

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Cooldown Exercises

Cooldown

Now that you have completed the Resistance training it is time for some cooldown exercises.

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1. Standing Quad Stretch

Slowly pull your leg back while holding your foot with your hand. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Don’t overstretch (if you feel to much pain, you are going to far). Good stretch to help with your leg flexibility.


2. Seated Hamstrings

Put one leg straight out, take the opposite leg and pull it in with the sole of your foot touching the straight leg. Extend your upper body forward while extending your arm. Feel the stretch of your hamstring. Hold for 30-45 seconds.


3. Standing Calves

Put one leg back, bend down slightly and feel the stretch in your calf. Once you have stretched your calf to the furthest comfortable position, hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat on other side. This is also a good stretch for the foot and ankle.


4. Hip Flexor

Stand with both knees bent. Push one leg back at a 45 degree angle, and return leg to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Focus on quick explosive pushes, while slowly returning leg back.


5. Seated Groin

Take both your feet and pull them in (touching the soles of your feet together). With your elbows out on your knees, slowly push down until you feel the stretch in the groin area. Hold for 30-45 seconds.


6. Wrist Flexors

Extend your hand straight in front facing upwards. With your other hand, pull back on your fingers until you feel a stretch in your forearms. Hold for 30-45 seconds.


7. Shoulder Stretch

With hands interlocked, stretch up as high as you can. Feel the stretch in your shoulders. Hold for 30-45 seconds. For optimal stretch, keep elbows as straight as you can.


8. Lower Body & Hips

Slowly bend forward at the hips and try touching your tows with both hands. Keep knees slightly bent during the stretch so the lower back is not too stressed. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Excellent stretch to help build flexibility in the legs.


9. Hip Rotators

Get on your back, take your opposite leg and cross it over the other leg. Pull back your leg towards your chest. Feel the stretch in the back area of your hip. Great stretch to help loosen up your hips. Hold for 30-45 seconds.


10. Wrist Extensors

Extend your hand straight in front of you facing downwards. With your other hand, pull back until you feel the stretch in your wrist and forearm. Hold for 30-45 seconds. Make sure to keep your arm straight throughout the stretch.


11. Elbow Pull Back

Put your arm over your head. Push down on your elbow with your other hand. Feel the stretch in your arm and shoulder area. Repeat on other side. Great stretch to increase flexibility in the arms.

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Resistance Training

Resistance training

Now that you have completed the plyometrics exercises it is time for some resistance training.

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1. Leg Trainer Skating Push

Stand with both knees bent. Push one leg back at a 45 degree angle, and return leg to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Focus on quick explosive pushes, while slowly returning leg back.


2. Leg Trainer Side Push

Extend leg sideways, then return to starting position. Focus on quick explosive leg pushes, while slowly returning leg back. Excellent to build endurance and power in the hip muscles.


3. Power Builder Snap

Extend stick forward simulating snap shot motion. Rotate wrists getting into the follow through. Return to starting position. Excellent to condition the shooting muscles. This exercise will greatly increase shot power and a quicker shot release.


4. Tricep Push

(Facing away from cord anchor) With elbow against side, push arm back and contract the tricep muscle. Execute in a slow and controlled motion. Make sure to fully bend the knees for balance and control. Perform on both sides. Exercise can also be performed with dumbell or weighted object.


5. Bicep Pull

(Facing cord anchor) With elbow against side, pull your hand towards shoulders. Contract the bicep muscle. Execute in a slow controlled motion. Make sure to keep your back straight when pulling on resistance cord. Perform on both sides. Exercise can also be performed with dumbell or weighted object.


6. Push Ups

Lie stomach down with your weight supported by your hands and feet. Lower your body weight (stop when elbows are in line with shoulders) and push your body weight up bringing elbows together. Focus on coming down slowly and exploding on your pushes.


7. Abs 3 Way Crunch

Lie on your back with your knees raised. With hands behind ears, raise your head and chest towards knees contracting abdominal muscles. Slowly come back down. Raise again this time turning towards one side. Repeat on other side. 1 Rep equals 3 crunches (center, then both sides).


8. Superman

To perform a superman, lie down on the ground (belly down), lift both your legs and arms off while keeping your midsection stable. Great exercise to help develop a stronger more powerful core. Focus on keeping your legs and arms fully extended during exercise.


9. Leg Trainer Front Push

Stand with both knees bent. Push one leg front at a 45 degree angle, and return leg to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Focus on a slow and controlled motion.


10. Leg Trainer Inner Pull

Stand with knees slightly bent. Pull leg crossing over other foot. Return to starting position. Focus on a quick explosive leg pull, then slowly return to the starting position. Great exercise to help build power in the inner thigh muscles and hamstrings.


11. Power Builder Slap

Extend stick forward simulating slap shot shot motion. Rotate wrists getting into the follow through. Return to starting position. Excellent hockey specific exercise to help develop stronger more explosive shooting muscles.


12. Power Builder Backhand

Extend stick backwards simulating backhand shot motion. Rotate wrists getting into the follow through. Return to starting position. Excellent hockey specific exercise to help develop stronger more explosive shooting muscles.


13. Back Push

(Sideways to cord anchor) With arm out in front, push back and contract back muscle. Execute in a slow and controlled motion. Keep your back straight when pushing cord back to help focus on the back muscles. Perform on both sides.


14. Chest Push

(Facing away from cord anchor) With arm at chest level, push forward and contract chest muscle. Execute in a slow and controlled motion. Perform on both sides.


15. Med Ball Lunge

Holding a medicine ball (or 5 lbs object) at chest height, step forward in a lunge position keeping your back straight. Return slowly to standing position. Touch your knee on the ground when lunging. Excellent exercise to help build hip power and endurance.


16. Med Ball Abs

Get in sit up position and show a target with your hands. Catch the medicine ball thrown from your partner and come all the way down, extending your arms over your head. Get back up and throw the bal back to your partner. Repeat exercise.


17. Med Ball Side Core Twist

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. While holding a medicine ball a little lower than chest height, turn your upper body from side to side while keeping your head and upper body straight. Great exercise that helps to build stronger more powerful side abdominal muscles.


18. Leg Raise Toe Touches

Lie on your back with your legs in the air and lower back flat on the ground. Reach up and touch your toes using your abdominal muscles and core muscles. Great exercise to help builde a stronger more powerful core. Helps improve balance for hockey.

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