About a year ago, I posted a couple core training videos (Hockey Core Training Exercises) based on a protocol referred to as the “Bunkie Test”. The Bunkie Tests are used to test the integrity of various functional pathways within the body. Because the various testing positions are founded upon fundamental structural links within the body, they all have some application to hockey performance, and to movement in general. That said, there were two positions specifically that I thought had a more direct application to hockey-specific movements.
Bunkie Side Plank (Top Leg)
This variation emphasizes the connection between the adductor complex and the lateral/rotational core musculature on the opposite side. This connection is present in everyone, but it’s integrity is paramount to hockey performance. Anytime a player shoots, this connection is emphasized concentrically in one group (e.g. left adductors and right core musculature for right-handed shots) and eccentrically in the other (e.g. right adductors and left core musculature for left-handed shots).
Bunkie Side Plank (Bottom Leg)
This variation emphasizes the lateral core system, linking the lateral hip musculature and lateral core musculature, both of which are influential in single-leg stability. This plays an important role in a lot of athletic movements. Relevant to hockey, this is what allows the driving force from the stride leg to be effectively transferred to the stance leg. If there is accessory motion due to lateral hip.core instability, some of the stride power is lost/wasted.
I still believe these exercises, as demonstrated in the videos above, have a lot of merit. However, recently I’ve made slight modifications to their execution to help improve the totality of the exercise by driving other important qualities.
The variations/progressions in the video below will ensure that the exercises are performed without compensations, and will improve the player’s ability to dissociate femoreacetabular movement (the femur moving within the hip) with acetabulofemoral movement (the hip moving on the femur). The internal perturbations increase the difficulty of the exercise while also adding in some extra work for the hip rotators (internal rotators in the first case; external rotators in the second). Enjoy!
Advanced Core Training Progressions
To your success,
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.