If there is one activity you can do to help your game and prevent injuries, it is regularly performing a well-designed warm-up. There are times with the Coyotes that I may have to limit workouts, whether it be due to travel or schedule conflicts, facility and equipment limitations on the road or because the team needs the extra rest. However, I will NEVER cancel a warm-up session. Preparing the mind and body for intense activity is absolutely essential for injury prevention and performance enhancement.
When warming up, keep in mind that you are preparing the body to move. I shudder when I see coaches taking kids out in the parking lot for a “warm-up” by having them stretch for 10 minutes. Sitting or standing in one place and stretching a muscle for 30 seconds prepares the muscles to relax and lengthen, whereas in activity, you want them to be able to move explosively in various body positions. There is a time and place for stretching, but not during warm-up. By the end of your warm-up, maybe 10-15 minutes long, you should have moved the body through a variety of motions and worked up a light sweat.
Similar to workouts, you should always aim to perform body movements in a standing position; doing so utilizes more muscles and you will be simulating movement you do on the ice. Perfect posture is very important: head and chest up, back flat. Start with slow, controlled movements that move the hips and knees through a good range of motion, like bodyweight squats and lunges. Variety is important, like adding a slow, controlled twisting motion (see picture) to the lunge motion. Remember to maintain good posture, with the head and chest up and an upright torso.
You then progress to motions that involve a little more speed…light skipping, side shuffles, cross over and cross under steps, butt kicks and backpedals. Again, focus on quality of movement, not how fast you can go.
This is a basic exercise framework that prepares the body to move. Start with slow movements and gradually progress to faster, multi-directional movements.