Nov 252009

In the spring of 2004, I took a course called “The Janda Approach to Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes”. It was a 2-day course and I was the only strength and conditioning coach there in a room full of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers. The course was given by Physical Therapist Clare Frank. Although, I did feel that the information was way over my head at times, Clare was very helpful in helping me understand the concepts that were taught. I was very impressed with her passion that she has for Vladimir Janda’s work. I really learned a lot of information at that seminar and have been able to apply some of the concepts with my athletes. 

Clare has written a book Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach.   It is due out in late December.  I really look forward to getting this book as I think it will be an excellent resource for any Strength and Conditioning Coach, Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, Massage Therapist, etc.  Check out her site-

Nov 232009

The Glute Bridge is a huge part of our daily program. We are always re-educating our guys on the glute bridge and it’s successive progressions. In our minds, the more we do exercises that isolate and strengthen the glutes, the less chance we have of getting injured. This is a glute isolation exercises that we do as part of warm up. We have always started with 8 reps of 3 second hold. Our focus is now on sustaining more of an isometric contraction for longer periods of time. Now, we will start with 3 reps of 10 second holds.

Nov 202009

It’s been a while since I posted my Random Thoughts as we were on a long road trip last week.  Here it goes:

1-      There is a picture of my lovely wife in Rachel Cosgrove’s new book, The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want.  Awesome for Hillary to get her picture in a book and also to get a little publicity for what she accomplished.  It was simply amazing to watch someone so close to me be so dedicated, disciplined, and also get outstanding results.  Also, congrats to Rachel on the release of this book. Rachel doesn an unbelievable job and was the first trainer I thought of when I referred her to Hillary.

2-      Great study in the November Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research- Training Effects of Endurance Capacity In Maximal Intermittent Exercise: Comparison Between Continuous and Interval Training- page 2405.   I really like this study because this is what hockey is- intermittent exercise.  The end result of the study showed that continuous aerobic training had “little effect” on “high power endurance capacity in maximal intermittent exercise”.  Interval training increased both maximal anaerobic power and “fatigability”.

3-      I started to upload some of the videos that I have taken over the last couple of years on to my Youtube page.  Check them out at SeanSkahan.  Also, I will be uploading more whenever I take more video.  Here is a video of a T-Spine Mobility exercise.  I got this one from one of Michol Dalcourt’s video.  What I really like about it is that the feet are on the ground and that because of the crossover foot, there is minimal lumbar spine movement.  T-Spine mobility is something that we are always trying to improve with our guys.

Nov 132009

Often times in sports, there’s always an athlete who is perceived to be in a class all their own.  In hockey, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr will always be considered two of the best to ever play the game.  

Today, guys like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are leading way as the world’s elite on skates.  In other sports, there’s golf’s Tiger Woods, basketball’s Lebron James and football’s Tom Brady, to name a few.

Obviously, every one of these players is an extremely talented and gifted individual.  However, talent alone isn’t what makes these players successful.  Each of them has an outstanding work ethic that helps them maximize their given talents and elevates them above everyone else. They’ve also spent countless hours practicing and trying to perfect their game.  

In the great Malcom Gladwell book, “Outliers,” he refers to the “10,000-hour rule,” which says that the greatest performers in most professions have spent more than 10,000 hours practicing and working on their crafts by the time they’re a young adult.  

Not only does this apply to sports, but other professions as well.   However, the greatest athletes and other professionals will go above and beyond 10,000 hours.  They’ll spend more time working on their weaknesses, as well as their strengths.  What are they doing during these 10,000-plus hours?  They’re simply practicing to get better.  The best people in any profession will always have a beginner’s mind.

A great example of an athlete who’s put in his 10,000 hours at an early age and continues to go above and beyond is Tiger, arguably the best to ever step foot on a golf course because of his relentless passion to improve.

Last August, after winning the Firestone golf tournament in Ohio on a Sunday afternoon, he was at the driving range of the PGA Championship course in Minnesota at 6:30 the very next morning. The PGA Championship didn’t start until Thursday (It’s important to note that I’m not recommending kids specialize in one sport at a young age like Tiger did; I’m simply referring to his current work ethic and practice habits.).  

Brian Tracy, a great self-help book author, advocates finding out who the most successful people are in your field, and then mimic their habits and approach to that particular craft. There’s no reason why you can’t work as hard – if not harder – as the better players.  

In hockey, what are some of the daily habits that the more successful players embrace?  Are they getting on the ice before everyone else and practicing one-timers?  Are they staying on the ice later than everyone else to work on their skating?  Are they watching video of their opponents or themselves?  Or, are they doing something off of the ice to help them gain an edge?  Maybe it’s a combination of all of those things.

Whatever it is that the better players are doing, you should try to emulate them the best you can and then apply the same level of work ethic and commitment to excellence.

Nov 092009

We are always looking to improve our guys’ explosive power. While in the in-season phase, we will back off on some of the olympic variations that we use such as Hang Cleans. The reason is that some of our guys will have problems with the hands and/or wrists due to getting slashed or from fighting. Also, I like to stay away from exercises where lower back problems can occur. We’ve found DB jumps to be a great alternative in improving our players’ explosive power- especially in-season. Typically, we will do 2-4 sets of 5-8 reps on these. We focus on getting our guys to be as elastic as possible while keeping the chest up, and preventing the knees from caving in.

Nov 082009

A day late with the random thoughts for the week, but here we go:

1- A great article was posted on this week on  Nate Green’s interview with Bret Contreras was really good.  I’ve read a lot of Bret’s posts on  He is a really smart guy who has really got me interested more in supine hip extensions.  Specifically, how to load it properly.  In addition to all the glute activation exercises that we do, we’re always looking for ways to load hip extension without the spinal loading.  Bret is on to something here.

2- I have just completed week 7 of Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 training program.  (Sorrry, but it is modified due to my continous low back pain- I don’t deadlift or squat).  I really like it because it is really easy to implement and make progress with.  So far, so good.  It is a simple, yet effective program.


3- Mike Robertson, Eric Cressey, and Bill Hartman, have an excellent product in Assess and Correct- Breaking Barriers to Unlock Performance.  I’ve started to read this as I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy.  This is really good information.  Every evaluation seems to be really easy to implement into your program.  Also, there are corrective exercises to address any dysfunctions.  These guys do a great job of bridging the gap between strength and conditioning coaches and physical therapists while also making it easy for guys like me to understand.

Nov 042009

n92801925665_5507Part of what I want to do here on the blog is to let my readers know of some websites that I check out and find to be valuable resources in the Strength and Conditioning field.  The sites that I will recommend will always be sites that I endorse based on the fact that I think they are great places to get information.

SB Coaches College is a site that was founded by Strength and Conditioning Coaches Shawn Windle, Brijesh Patel, and Robb Rogers. Shawn is currently the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Indiana Pacers. Brijesh is currently the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Quinnipiac University. Rob is now working for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. All of these guys are very good and very bright strength and conditioning coaches who I have gotten to know over the last couple of years. They are also really good guys.

The site contains several well written articles, programs, and power point presentations, as well as a store where you can buy some of their products.
Check it out at

Nov 022009

Here is a video of one of our abduction exercises that we do within our core/torso program. With the constant use of our adductors and other internal rotators of the hip, we feel that we need to strengthen abductors to make their that there is adequate muscle balance at the hip joint to prevent injuries. We will do 2 sets of 10 reps with a 3 second hold at the top.

The coaching cues are for the athlete to keep their legs straight with the top leg slightly behind the bottom leg with the toe pointed down. The upper body is to remain perpendicular to the floor.