Guildford Hockey Club Est. 1912

Stretching and Core Stability are Key to Staying Fit

 17th Jan 2015

2015-01-17 BU14Stretch3-200We are lucky in the Club to have so many interesting and interested people as members, friends, parents, siblings, spouses, etc. This week we were reminded once again of how a small initiative from one of these people can make a big difference. Helen Esplen, Physio to GB Rowing and a mum of a Junior Player, offered to run a stretching and core fitness session for the Under 14 Boys. She has also shared her notes from the evening which are here in this article. Have a look to either learn or remind yourself - and see what the clubhouse looks like with 50 Under 14 Boys sprawled all over the floor stretching their hamstrings...


It is very important to stretch your muscles after exercise when you are warm.

If you are unable to do this after a match/ training session you should do so as soon as you get home. Tight muscles make you prone to injuries (especially knee, Achilles and hips in hockey) and injuries stop you playing!

When you grow, your bones grow quicker than your muscle can elongate making your muscles potentially tight. Therefore even more reason why growing teenage bodies need to stretch


Stretches taught in session


Lie on back, one leg in air foot towards you, hands behind the thigh. The other leg is straight. Hold for 30 seconds feeling the stretch behind the thigh. Then bend and straighten the knee 10 times.



Stand holding onto something for balance. Bend one knee behind you holding onto your foot. Keep your knees together and tuck your bottom under. Hold for 20 seconds feeling  the stretch down the front of your thigh



Stand in a lunge position  tuck your bottom under standing tall. Lift the arm in the air on the side as the back leg, eg, R leg at the back, R arm in the air and then stretch over to L. Hold for 20 seconds feeling the stretch down the front of thigh and hip.




Stand hands on wall. Take one leg back, heel on floor. Knee slightly bent. Bend the front knee. Hold 20 seconds feeling the stretch down the back of the back leg.



Lie on your tummy with one knee bent under you foot in. Hold 20 seconds feeling the stretch in your buttock.


Core stability

Your CORE muscles are the muscle which hold your spine and body in a good posture which then allows your arms and legs to move in a more efficient way making you more balanced, stronger and very importantly helping to stop injuries.

All elite athletes work on their core as part of their training schedule. Some people do not use their core properly and need reeducate their brain on how to do this....

The main core muscles are the DEEP ABDOMINALS and your GLUTS in your bottom.


2 exercises to practice


1 Stand tall .

Think of a bit of string pulling your head up. Put your fingers on your hip bones and move an inch in and an inch down. This is where you can feel the deep abdominals working. Pull up inside you as 'if you are stopping yourself weeing  'These muscles work with the abdominals for core stability. You should feel your tummy button come in towards the spine. Make sure you keep breathing.


Next squeeze your bottom to get your gluts working,bend one knee up and slowly take the knee out to the side.  Keep the pelvis still, hips facing forward. Take the knee out and in 5 times. You should be able to do this without wobbling and staying tall. PRACTICE whilst you are cleaning your teeth !


2 Lie on your back knees bent feet on the floor

Pull in your tummy (stopping yourself weeing) squeeze your bottom and then lift your bottom off the floor. Keep your pelvis still and straighten one leg. Stay balanced without wobbling or moving your pelvis. Try to do 5 times each leg.


MOST IMPORTANTLY make using your CORE part of your everyday life. Make sure you stand tall, pull your tummy in and squeeze your bottom the whole time.

This WILL make you a more balanced, stronger and a fitter athlete!


Helen Esplen

Sports Physiotherapist

07771 537 150


Hamstring stretch

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Core Stability

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