All of the exercises I have talked about so far used bodyweight, light dumbbells or medicine balls as the primary form or resistance. In all of these movements, regardless of what implement is used, the body is overcoming a resistance that is pulling it towards the ground. In most sports, however, it is important to develop movement skills, stability, strength, power and endurance in directions other than towards the ground.
An excellent example is the hockey skating stride. The skater must push sideways against the ice to propel themselves in the desired direction. With the infinite possibilities of directional force that their hips must produce, it is important to develop hip musculature to prevent injuries.
Very basic exercises develop hip stability and strength utilizes mini-bands. These are like small rubber bands, are very cheap, portable and come in different levels of stiffness. Our players use them regularly for warm-up before practices and games. Like any exercise, consult with a qualified trainer and your physician before implementing any exercise into your program.
There are many different movements that can be done with mini-bands. We start with putting a light-resistance band just above the athlete’s ankle. They assume a low stance with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed straight ahead. Staying in that loaded, low position with their head and chest up, they step their left foot to their left, place the foot down, then follow with the right. Essentially, they have done a slow side-stepping shuffle to their left. They then repeat to the right.
If space is limited, they can do this in place, going back and forth. However, finding a good sized hallway or open corridor, they can perform this movement sideways down the hallway.