The FIVE Key Ingredients
Your Off-Ice Goalie Training Must Include

By Maria L. Mountain, MSc
Certified Exercise Physiologist

Just like math, there is an order of operations that your off-ice goalie training must follow. What a terrible example, I hated math in school and I was not that great at it either. Let me think of a new example – okay, try this…it is like building a house. Now that is a much better example.

If you skip steps or take steps out of order you are going to end up with a pile of rubble at some stage. Just like your goalie training this is dangerous because on observation, everything might be going very well and looking great until BOOM – everything goes terribly wrong – READ: cracks in the foundation or the hockey goalie equivalent – groin strain, sports hernia, tweaked knee – – take your pick.

Even if you are doing exactly the right things, but you are doing them in the wrong order you could be sabotaging yourself without even knowing it.

Do you know anyone who takes their goalie training very seriously but they always seem to be injured? Now there are many factors that can contribute to an injury, but my first guess when an athlete seeks my help for a recurring injury is that there is an underlying issue that has nothing to do with the actual injury and that underlying issue is because they failed to follow the order of operations in their training.

So let’s make sure you’ve go it right. Just read through to double check that you are following the right progression and maximizing your progression on the ice.

The 5 Progressive Steps Every Goalie Must Follow To Add Inches To Their Butterfly, Turbo Charge Their Speed In The Crease And Dramatically Reduce The Risk Of Painful (frustrating) Tweaks.


I don’t think I am shocking anyone here with this one. If you cannot move, you cannot be the goalie, that is the truth. And goalies need to move is some pretty peculiar ways to play their position effectively. This is where a general fitness program or even following a hockey training program that was designed for skaters can fail the goalie.

You see, stretching individual muscles in isolation is fine, but will only get you so far. Goalies need to stretch through their functional movement patterns.

Before I move on to the next priority for goalie training, I want to be clear that the flexibility I am talking about is not your ability to do the splits every which way – that is a nice to have and may or may not come with time depending on your anatomy.

What I am talking about is the hip mobility to give you a wider butterfly flare without putting undue strain on your medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the flexibility to do a butterfly slide without putting undue strain on your lower back.


Without getting into too much detail, the reason you are the strongest in the mid-range of motion is because your muscles do not lengthen and shorten like an elastic band.

Muscle filaments (of which there are thousands and thousands in every muscle fiber) slide past one another as the muscle lengthens and contracts. So when a muscle is stretched to its limit, that muscle is literally at the end of its rope. Like hanging on by your fingertips.

If you knew you would be hanging over a cliff by your fingertips and someone was going to jump on your back – do you think you might do some training for that event? Um yeah, me too.

So in your goalie training, you need to execute strong, powerful and stable movements through your functional range of motion. You also need to train the small muscles that stabilize the joints in all positions as the big prime movers and trying to yank and shear those joints out of alignment. It sounds very complicated, but it is actually quite simple once you know exactly how to do it safely.

This goes way beyond core training, this is like core training for every single joint in the body. Failure to address this stability as a priority will lead to injury, every time, sooner or later.

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