We all detest them – coaches even use them as punishment for poor play in training – but the push up has plenty going for it when it comes to hockey.
Push ups exercise your upper body while at the same time activating your all-important core muscles. A strong upper body and core translate into more power moving the ball around the pitch. Having stronger shoulder muscles will also help prevent injuries and weaknesses caused by the inherent forward position of the shoulders in the hockey-playing position.
How to do push ups
Position: Your hands should be shoulder-width apart or narrower and, to stop twisting, your feet should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
The motion: Keeping your torso straight, lower yourself towards the floor until your chest and hips very nearly touch the ground (the height of a fist away is about right).
You will get the most benefit if you then concentrate on an explosive movement upwards to get you back to the start position.
Make sure you keep your back straight throughout. Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
Work towards doing three sets of 15 three times a week and you should start to feel the benefits in on-field power.
Moving your hands further apart exercises your chest muscles harder, closer together works the triceps more.