Most old school hockey players started playing puck by gathering around center ice to stretch. This game prep technique has changed dramatically.
Rich Hesketh, Calgary Flames S+C coach, stresses the importance of stretching off the ice, without any gear on, so your muscles can go through their full range of motion. "You wouldn't want to take a rubber band right out of the freezer and start stretching it," Hesketh says. "Meaning, you will eventually pull and tear your muscles without [properly] warming them up, similar to snapping apart a frozen rubber band."
As for post-skate, Hesketh suggests static stretches to help you cool down muscles to prevent injuries and keep your body loose.
Check out Hesketh's stretching advice to increase your flexibility and prevent injuries, eh?
Warm up with a 10-minute jog or bike ride before stretching
Use dynamic movements, such as leg swings and lunges, before heading onto the ice
Try to work the full range of motion during your warm up
Static stretch for 10 to 15 minutes after practice, holding each stretch for 30 seconds
Bounce during static stretches
Perform static stretches on the ice before practice
Rush through either static or dynamic stretches
Forget to stretch after practice
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock