Off-Season Curling Exercises Part 1 - Mobility Exercises
The curling season has come to an end, but the new season will be back before we know it. Curling involves a combination of mobility and stability for both throwing and sweeping a stone, so it’s important to address both components when training. There are lots of great workouts available, but below is a starting guide to make sure you are able to maintain the right amount of range of motion and necessary strength to lower your risk of injury. These exercises are great for most curlers, but it’s still important to consult with a trained health professional to ensure that they are right for you before starting this routine.
This part will focus on exercises that help to maintain or increase mobility in areas that require a minimum amount of range of motion to decrease the risk of injury while curling. Most of these exercises require little or no equipment and can be completed in a short period of time.
1. Cat-Camel: This exercise is great for improving mobility throughout the spine. Begin by getting on all fours on a mat, carpet or other comfortable surface. Slowly arch your back up to the sky, then gently push your chest and belly button towards the floor. Perform 1 set of 8 reps daily.
2. Hip rotation with a luggage strap: Hip rotation is crucial for a smooth delivery out of the hack and to decrease the load being placed on the knee. To complete this exercise, lie on your back with your hip and knee at about 90 degrees. Wrap a luggage strap or rope around your right foot and hold the other end in your right hand. Gently pull on the strap to allow the foot and leg to turn out. You may stabilize your right knee with your left hand to allow the motion to occur mostly in the hip joint. Perform 1 set of 5 reps per side.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch: Tight hip flexors can limit hip motion and often contribute to low back pain. To stretch out these muscles, rest your right leg on a mat, chair or bed. Step forward with your left leg into a lunge position. You should feel a stretch through the front of the right thigh. Reach your right arm overhead to get a stronger stretch through the hip flexors.
4. Mid Back Foam Rolling: Proper motion throughout the mid back will decrease the pressure going through the low back and help with proper shoulder mechanics. A foam roller is a great way to loosen up this area by slowly rocking back and forth between your shoulder blades. Avoid doing this maneuver through the low back because it can often be uncomfortable.
5. Shoulder Range of Motion with a Dowel or Strap: A luggage strap or dowel can also be used to help maximize shoulder range of motion. Lie on your back with your knees bent and gently hold the strap shoulder width or slightly further apart. Slowly bring your arms overhead until you feel a comfortable stretch through the shoulders. Slowly return to the starting position. Next, begin with arms at about chest level and slowly bring your right arm towards the ground until you feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat the same movement on the left side. Perform 5 reps in each direction.