Photo: NHL Bruins
Last year, I remember watching a video of the then-Boston Bruins forward, Tyler Seguin, doing Pilates. It is a rather comical video with this insanely strong man, barely being able to do these seemingly simple moves. The instructor in the video explains to viewers that hockey players, “often get tight in one plane of motion and the other plane is elongated”. She goes on to explain how balancing the two out can quicken the reaction time of the athlete.
After some research, I found that more and more hockey players are beginning to use these Pilates methods. Hockey players spend most of their time in a crouched over position. Because of this, their bodies are extremely imbalanced. The purpose of Pilates, and even yoga is to get the balance back to their bodies. Often, the type of muscle hockey players develop is bulky rather long and lean. Pilates and yoga help create a type of lean muscle due to its focus on stretching and balance.
Some of the main reasons that more and more players are using Pilates have to do with an overpowering strength from other places in their body. Most of the power they generate is out of their quads, and because of this, they subdue the strength coming from muscles like the hamstrings and glutes. Also, a player’s core is typically weak, they specifically show a weakness in their lower core. This is because the muscles in the pelvis area are particularly feeble. The main focus in Pilates is working from the core and building it up.
There are many notable players in the league who attribute Pilates and yoga to their success. This includes Henrik Lundqvist, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin and more. Some teams have even decided to implement it into their teams overall workout. These teams include the San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. I’m sure as the word spreads of the benefits of Pilates and yoga, more and more teams will be jumping on this exercise bandwagon.