The hockey season can be a long and grueling one, especially for goalies. On the ice 5+ times per week throughout the season, often times as many as 7 days a week, maintaining the body should be a top priority for every netminder.
Muscle recovery for goalies is not unlike any other athletic position.
Ever wonder how elite goalies like Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo keep their bodies in tip top shape (and injury free!) throughout the season? Sure, they have access to world class facilities and trainers, but, they still have to take it upon themselves to ensure they’re properly recovering from workouts/practices and games.
The secret is myofascial release.
What is myofascial release? In laymans terms, it’s a recovery aid used by high performance athletes all over the world that involves putting pressure on muscles to rebuild them in the correct way.
This list of muscle recovery tools for goalies should give you an excellent starting place for developing a post practice (or pre practice routine). Taking the time to better understand your body will give you that extra edge and help prevent injuries throughout the season.
Do not wait until it’s too late! Waiting to take care of your body as a goaltender can lead to serious consequences.
Muscle Recovery for Goalies
Giving your body a chance to properly recover after a workout is paramount to injury prevention throughout the season. As an added bonus, you’ll feel better and actually improve your overall flexibility.
A lot of goalies use foam rollers and other types of trigger point massage tools. This is called Myofascial Release. Myofascial Release is a hands on and safe way of helping your muscles recover and restoring motion.
Grab a recovery tool that works well for you and build a routine, your body will thank you later.
1. Foam Roller
If you’re a goalie and you haven’t heard of a foam roller before, consider this your introduction. Simply put, you release as much weight onto the roller as you can comfortably (relatively) stand and roll along your muscles. It’s important not to foam roll on bone, however. Focus on areas like your calfs, hamstrings and quads, IT bands, or any other large muscle groups that are tight. Beginners, a softer foam roller works well. Experienced foam rollers, the Trigger Point GRID is the roller to buy. Or, if you can’t decide.. here are the best foam rollers for goalies.
2. Lacrosse Ball
Every goalie should have a lacrosse ball or two stashed somewhere in their locker/game bag. Similar to the foam roller, you’ll achieve your desired result by slowly rolling back and forth on your glutes/hip muscles. Make sure you’re not rolling on bone. Excellent for releasing tension in the hips after practice or as a pre practice/game warm up.
3. Recovery Tights
If you can find a cheap pair of recovery tights at your local Walmart, snag them. If not, they’re available online as well. Recent research has shown that recovery tights may help speed up post workout recovery and for good reason. They’re designed to help increase blood flow and reduce muscle stiffness. Throw on a pair after a practice or on the bus ride home.
4. Vibrating Foam Roller
We purposely left this one out of the above mentioned foam rollers, because it’s in a league all it’s own. The HyperIce Vyper foam roller is a beast in the foam roller kingdom for a number of reasons. It’s got 3 different vibration settings plus a unique design that targets deep tissue. Oh, and it’s been endorsed by a number of professional athletes. It’s expensive, but worth the price. If you’re serious about your rolling this isn’t a terrible investment.
5. Ice Bath
Need us to explain anything more here?
6. Dr. Cool Large Wrap
If you’re looking to upgrade the above mentioned ice bath, try the Dr. Cool Large Ice Wrap. Skip dripping water from an ice pack.
7. Firefly Muscle Recovery
While I’m not a doctor and not 1000% sure the exact science behind the Firefly Muscle Recovery system, it works. According to their website, “The Firefly device activates your body’s own neuromuscular system at the peroneal nerve increasing blood flow systemically to enhance overall performance recovery”. We’ll be doing a full review soon and will update this post when it’s done.
Nutrition is one of the keys to recovery. Pretty much every athlete on the planet has consumed a smoothie at one point or another, with good reason. Smoothies basically let you consume things like protein, flax, and chia seeds without tasting them. It’s perfect! The Nutri Bullet blending system works like a charm and blends just about everything. That link is to the 600 watt system, which is a bit cheaper than the 900 watt and does the same thing. Get on the smoothie train, you’ll be glad you did.
The king of all recovery tools, sleep. For young athletes (and older athletes, and everybody, period) sleep is the key to recovery. Don’t get enough of it, you’ll walk around like a zombie. Start getting enough sleep, you’ll never regret it.