The Posterior Chain and Goalies
I'll start this by saying that if you're interested in really taking your athleticism game to the next level, understanding what the Posterior Chain is and how it affects you as a goalie is just the start.
You then have to put in the work.
Like anything, knowledge only goes so far. Then you make things happen.
The posterior chain is a "chain" of muscle groups all along the backside of your body. Think of your calves, hamstrings, glutes & hips, back, shoulders, and neck.
Posterior is back, anterior is front of your body.
Ok, Josh, thanks for the anatomy lesson...onward.
The posterior chain (there's that word again), then is the linkage of all the muscles on the backside of your body.
It's a chain because everything is connected in your body, and as goalies, each part of our chain must work with the muscle group next to it fluidly to make things work.
And goaltending involves the posterior chain more than you think.
Goalies need strong legs and butts. But more than that, so much of body coordination and fluidity involves how things work together, including your back, torso, and shoulders.
This is why I love Olympic lifting for goalies: Olympic lifting is all posterior chain. It's all about generating MASSIVE amounts of POWER in a short amount of time. We do that all the time as goalies.
Look at the Olympic Snatch, performed here in a World Record lift.
Note a few things:
1. Straight back, chest is over the bar, strong posture. GOALIE Translation: Too often I see young goalies with poor posture & a hunched back. We want shoulders over the puck, just like his are over the bar, but there is some tension in his back. It's not a "soft" back.
2. Narrow Feet. GOALIE Translation: of course, his feet for this lift are too narrow for what goalies need to do. My point is that for maximum power output, his feet are underneath his body. Wide enough for stability but not too wide. I see many goalies get sooooo wide and spread out that they lose their ability to generate power laterally. There's just nowhere left for their legs to go when they get too wide.
3. It's all in the hips. The majority of his explosiveness comes in frames 6, 7, 8 (last of first row and first two of second row). Getting to this point loaded his hamstrings, quads, and back, and now he's exploding through with his hips. GOALIE Translation: build core stability and strength, and know what your core is! Your "CORE" goes beyond your abs...well beyond. Build your glutes, lower back, hips, and hip flexors, which all contribute to core strength and stability. Think of any skating movement you'll ever do...movement starts in your hips.
4. Mobility Matters. Being able to put 175kg (385.81 lbs!!!!!) over your head requires that your body is mobile enough to have strength through all ranges of motion. You must be able to generate power at the extremes of your body movement.
To wrap up and come back to the POSTERIOR Chain...take a look at the progression again. Imagine putting yourself in each position...maybe do it with a hockey stick! But at each position, what muscles are you using?
Calves, Butt, Hamstrings, Back, Shoulders.
And all of these muscle groups must be able to coordinate and work together to make the whole thing work. It falls apart if something misfires.
So, now you know a little about the Posterior Chain and how Olympic Lifting could help you build your goaltending athleticism.
Go make it happen...here's a quick routine for you to start with.
POSTERIOR CHAIN WARMUP ROUTINE
Weight - None or Minimal. Use a Hockey Stick or 1" PVC Pipe
- 2 sets of 10 Good Mornings
- 2 sets of 15 1-Leg RDL (Romanian Dead Lift)
- 10 Jefferson Curls
- 2 sets of 20 Deadlift
Doing these movements before practices and games will help warm up your muscle systems that will best help your game. So much of goaltending starts and stops with the posterior chain. Develop it!
Stay frosty, friends.