Fitness

Critical to the success of any athlete is exceptional physical fitness. The two most important aspects of being fit are physical conditioning and flexibility. How are they related? Why are they important? These are important questions which are discussed below.

Warming Up

Before getting into specific strength or flexibility exercises, or even a sporting competition, it is important to begin with a warmup routine to prime your body for the stress it is about to endure. While for many, a warmup routine constitutes breaking a sweat via running, jumping rope, etc., these types of exercises only burn energy that have would be used during your principle exercises. A better warmup routine engages muscles surrounding important joints (neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles) in a light manner. Taking each joint through its range of motion several times warms up the fluid in each joint and once the fluid is warmed, it expands and allows the joints to move freely. Once you’ve performed a warmup routine, stretch and flexing the muscles attached to these joints becomes easier.

Strength Conditioning

In nearly every sport, physical strength provides an advantage. Strength allows us to hit, throw and kick the ball (or puck) harder. In contact sports, the power to move bodies and create space is an invaluable asset. As a result, it is important for all athletes in all sports to spend time in the gym working to improve their physical conditioning. Below you can browse organized exercise to meet your specific needs

Stretching

Stretching is equally important. You can have as much physical strength in the world but if you don’t have mobility of your strength, it is useless. Through stretching your muscles and joints the fluid within your joints warms up and expands, improving range of motion. Range of motion is an important element to athletic achievement in almost every sport because the more extended and varied one can reach, kick, or swing, one not only becomes harder to defend but one also reduces the risk of injury. It is also important to stretch at the end of a workout; the cool down phase. This prevents lactic acid buildup which is the leading cause of post-workout soreness. Below are resources dedicated to improving flexibility and range of motion.

It is important to stretch all sections of the body but there is also a need for some athletes to pay particular attention to those body parts that are constantly being used and are crucial to performance.

One such muscle group is the hips. Now everyone uses their hips, but some athletes including hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and track to them constantly and usually at full stride, twisting, turning, landing and more.

So we have included a special hip flexor stretching program here. Download it and keep it in your planning book. Do these stretches once day to stay flexible with full range of motion.
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