Jan 272012

I hope everyone had a fantastic week.  I also hope you have a great weekend and hopefully get a chance to check out some of the NHL all-star game and festivities.  The all-star break is a great opportunity for me to spend some quality time with my family, shut it down for a few days, and re-charge for the rest of the season.

At HockeySC.com, we have had 3 great contributions since my last update.

First up is Single Leg Olympic Lifting by Darryl Nelson.  In this video, Darryl shows one of his hockey players performing the 1-leg/1-arm DB Push Jerk, and a 1-leg/1-arm DB Snatch.  These are pretty impressive videos.  I don’t know where I stand on these lift variations.  I truly can see the benefits of these in developing the neuromuscular system.  However, I am not sure how much load can be used in the long run, especially with great form.   I would have to try them out and experiment on my own.

Next up is a great piece, Integrating the Frontal Plane in Hockey Training, by David Lasnier.  This is a great article by David that thoroughly explains the need for training in the frontal plane in hockey training.  Since hockey is a multi-directional sport, training needs to take place in all 3 planes of motion.  We are so accustomed to training in the sagittal plane.   David points out how important the frontal plane is and gives us some good progressions.

Last is a video submitted by Anthony Donskov, Managing Stress.  I really like Anthony’s energy and enthusiasm for training.  This video won’t disappoint.

That’s it for the week folks.  I hope you enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading.


Jan 252012

I was very fortunate to get a copy of Exercises for the Landmine DVD by my friends Shawn Windle and Brijesh Patel.  Shawn is the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Indiana Pacers while Brijesh is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Quinnipiac University.  They are both outstanding Strength and Conditioning Coaches who also collaborated and developed SBCoachesCollege.com.  This is a great site with lots of content including articles, videos, presentations, and products for sale.  What I really like and respect about these guys is that they are real-world Strength and Conditioning Coaches who are training athletes on a daily basis.  When they release a product, I know that there is plenty of knowledge and hands-on implementation with their athletes behind it.

Exercises for the Landmine is an excellent resource for those who want to learn about the Landmine device and implement it in their training.  Honestly, I have only used the landmine as a standing, anti-rotational exercise.  I have actually never thought about how many exercises are readily available with this device.  What I really like about the DVD is that there is a logical progression from kneeling to standing.  What is interesting is that there are several variations of other more common exercises that can be used with the Landmine.  I highly recommend this DVD.  You can get it on SBCoachesCollege.com.

Jan 232012

Here is a guest post by my current intern, Seth Munsey.  Seth does a real good job.  He recently attended the Perform Better 1-Day Seminar in LA.  I asked him to let me know how it went because I couldn’t make it.  Seth gives a great review here:

Perform Better One-Day 1/14/2012

On Jan. 14th, I had the pleasure of attending the Perform Better One-Day Learning By Doing seminar at the LA Convention Center. This particular seminar is one of the many great events that are put on throughout the year by Chris Poirier and the Perform Better crew. If you have yet to attend a Perform Better event, I highly suggest that you get to one soon.

Mike Boyle

Coach Boyle is a strength and conditioning giant, and I am sure that if you are taking the time to read this, you’ve probably heard of him. Fortunately, I was able to hear Coach Boyle speak a few times in the last couple of months, and he has yet to under-deliver. The first half of his talk really focused on the attendees, and he challenged us to take a look at ourselves, and figure out who we are as coaches and whether or not we are ready to challenge the status quo. Coach Boyle went through a lot of information, which would make this review long enough for you to stop reading half way thru, so I am just going to hit on some key points that I thought were really good takeaways.

He presented us with a list of questions early on that really opened up many minds;

Am I Really Teachable?

· Am I open to other people’s ideas?

· Do I listen more than I talk?

· Am I open to changing my mind based on new info?

· Do I readily admit when I am wrong?

· Do I ask questions?

· Am I willing to ask a question that will expose my ignorance?

· Do I act defensively when criticized?

Now that many of you quickly skimmed that list, I challenge you to really go back and re-read each question carefully. Stew on each one for a bit and think about how honestly you could say yes to each question. I have always considered myself to be very teachable, yet after reading that list, I realized there are definitely areas that I could set goals to improve on.

Some other key points from the talk are:

3 Goals

· Prevent injuries in the actual training process

· Reduce incidence of performance or work related injury (keep people healthy)

· Feel better and/or improve performance

Knee Dominant Patterns

· Master the squat pattern and static supported patterns first!

· Lunges are not for beginners

· Don’t worry about functional, worry about safe

· 20 bodyweight squats in a minute before getting into single leg work

As you can tell, there was a lot of information, and I had to leave out a ton. Like I said in the beginning, if you have yet to hear Coach Boyle speak, it definitely needs to be put on your list of goals.


Alwyn Cosgrove

Alwyn is always a very entertaining presenter who juggles jokes with personal challenges. We as the audience always erupt into laughter at one of analogies, and then we go silent as we quickly realize that the joke is on us. He isn’t making fun of us, he is trying to challenge us; to make us realize that if we want to be successful, we have to start acting and thinking success.

Alwyn layed out his “Five Secrets for Fitness Business Success.”

1) Have a success mindset

2) Understand the mindset of the client

3) Practice the principle of the slight edge

4) Mastermind/Mentor with like-minded successful individuals

Alwyn also laid out some “Action Steps” that we can take to be more successful:

· Be the best

· Understand the mindset of the client

· Repostion yourself as a consultant

· Introduce semi-private training to increase your income and leverage your time

· Establish your training philosophy for the 21st century market

· Continue to “sharpen the saw” by investing in yourself on an ongoing basis

· Commit to working with a mentor and being in a mastermind group

He also included a great quote by Jim Rohn, “Your level of income will rarely exceed your level of personal development.


Todd Durkin

If your sitting in a room with Todd Durkin and you’re not inspired and motivated, then immediately check your pulse. Todd is the owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego where he trains the like of Drew Brees, Ladanian Tomlinson, and many more.

Todd’s talk was titled “Core & Cuff” and he spent the hour outlining many of the exercises he uses to strengthen the shoulder complex and core with every person who trains in his facility. He made it a point to say that these routines were not just for the Drew Brees of the world. They are great for fitness enthusiasts, weekend warriors, young and old athletes, elite athletes, etc… Basically, everybody that has a shoulder complex that isn’t torn apart.

Most of Todd’s talk was a video montage of many of the different exercises his clients do, so I will stick with giving you his “10 Secrets to Success.”

1) Feet to Fingertip emphasis

2) Understand myofascial slings

3) Bilateral vs. unilateral movements

4) Frontal and transverse emphasis

5) Different hand positions (he has his clients do most exercises using many different grip positions)

6) 2:1 backside to front-side emphasis

7) Dis-association of shoulder and hips

8) Core is 60% of your power

9) Build joint integrity FIRST!

10) “Flex T” is your home position


Gray Cook

Gray’s talk was titled “Mobility, Motor Control, Movement.” Gray is a great speaker who always keeps me engaged, even when I don’t fully grasp what he is saying! Some of the key points of Gray’s talk were;

· Our profession needs to develop Standard Operating Procedures. Every pilot, every surgeon, every firefighter has SOP’s, why not us?

We need a rating and ranking system that will;

· Provide SOP

· Improve communication

· Improve collaboration

· Elevate education

· Improve safety

· Create a system that yields consistently better results

· Categories create clarity for the consumer

And five final points;

· Establish a SOP for identifying dysfunction within fundamental movement patterns

· Separate painful movement patterns from dysfunctional movement patterns whenever possible

· As a general rule do not manage or treat painful movement patterns with exercise

· Within dysfunctional movement patterns identify impairments

· Establish minimum levels of mobility followed by minimum levels of motor control


Overall, it was a great day of learning and networking with like-minded professionals. I always enjoy attending these events and hope to see all of you there in the future!


Jan 202012

We had another good week at HockeySC.com

First up we had the second episode of the Hockey Strength Podcast.  In episode 2, Anthony speaks with Darryl Nelson of the U.S. National development program team.  This is a great interview as it gives some insights into what Darryl does on a daily basis.  Darryl also discusses some of his recent articles that he has posted.  You can listen to this at Hockey Strength Podcast.

Next up is Kevin Neeld’s 2-Day In-Season Training Program Phase 4.  This is a good 2 day program that is very detailed in what Kevin’s athletes are doing in the weight room.  With the accumulation of fatigue due to the amount of games and practices, Kevin backs off on volume a little bit, but still gets some quality strength work in.

Up next is another contribution from Kevin, Youth Hockey Training Program Phase 2.  In this group of videos, Kevin highlights some of the exercises that he is using.  There are some good speed and change of direction exercises in this group of videos.

Last up is Mike Potenza’s Establishing a Foundation: Leg Strength for Young Goaltenders.  This is a good article which gives an excellent progression for a goaltender (or anyone else) to establish the proper foundation of squatting and then progressing to other single leg variations.  This is a really good piece.

On the forum, we have some good discussions going on such as low back pain in females and conditioning tools.  Make sure you check out the forum when you log on.

We believe that this site is the best resource in hockey strength and conditioning on the internet.  You will not find anywhere else where you can get access to all of the programs and ideas that some of the best in hockey are currently doing with their players.  If you’re not a member, you can try it out for 1 dollar.  You will not be disappointed.



Jan 132012

I hope everyone is doing great.  I am actually typing this post from Edmonton.  This is the first of 2 trips up to the province of Alberta, Canada where we also visited the city of Calgary and then we will head over to Vancouver (which is the province of British Columbia).  Although it is much colder than Orange County, it is actually not too cold for this time of year here.

At HockeySC.com, we have had some good contributions this week.

First up is The Mechanistic Connection Between the Trunk, Hip, Knee, and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury by Timothy Hewett and Gregory Myer.  This is actually a study that was published by the American College of Sports Medicine in its Exercise and Sport Science Reviews.  This is an interesting study that discusses how the control of lateral trunk motion is associated with hip abduction muscle recruitment and strength in females.  What was also interesting is the mention of the difference between males and females when they’re skeletal growth process is occurring.  Research has shown previously that males experience a neuromuscular growth spurt that females don’t.  This would indicate that males would have greater neuromuscular control.  This would make sense when looking at the whole study.

Next up is Mike Potenza’s Muscle Endurance Workout for Goaltenders.  This is a good program submitted by Mike.  Goalies need to have the endurance to sustain the motions that they do over and over again during the course of a game.  They need endurance of the muscles of the legs and hips.  With the butterfly style being the most preferred method of current goaltenders, the importance of endurance in the hip abductors and adductors is huge.

Next up is my Chin Up video.  In this video, I show the difference between the chin up technique that my athletes were doing previously to me learning the RKC/Tactical version.  I’ve found that athletes who may have had shoulder issues which prevented them from doing chin ups or pull ups in the past can do this version of the chin up without issues.  I also think once you engage your core and lats better; there is less stress on the shoulder joints.  I will be blogging about this later on as I have been trying this out on myself.

That’s it for the week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thanks for your continued support!


Jan 112012

I have seen many of these types of articles written by other strength and conditioning professionals and personal trainers.  These are just 4 thoughts that popped into my head while thinking about things that I have come across in the strength and conditioning field.  A few of these thoughts might be common sense or re-affirmations, but they are thoughts that I thought to myself “Why couldn’t I think of this sooner?”  These are also my opinions only.

1- Too Much Load Will Result in Poor Technique and Possibly Injury

This is probably under the “common sense” category.  I have seen many sets of exercises where reps 1 and 2 look perfect, but reps 4 and 5 don’t.  Watch your athletes perform a warm-up set with a lighter weight.  Their technique should be perfect.  When the heavier load is used, the only difference in the reps should be the speed of the movement.   If that isn’t the only difference, then the load is too heavy for the reps prescribed.  This is when injury has the best chance of occurring.

2- Hang Cleans and Front Squats May Be Better Choices than Power Cleans and Back Squats

The timing of this “thought” is funny as I am actually posting this right after an article by Jim Reeves- The Front Squat/Back Squat Debate: Part 1, was posted on StrengthCoach.com).  I am loooking forward to part 2.

This one has actually been part of my philosophy for some time.  The number 1 reason that I prefer Hang Cleans and Front Squats is because they are safer.  Number 2 is that I don’t think that the perceived advantage of the power clean and the back squat is better than the hang clean and the front squat.

Earlier on in my career when I was an intern or a Graduate Assistant, I would see many versions of the power clean and the back squat. What I would sometimes see is far too many athletes performing pulls from the floor and back squats incorrectly.  For example, some athletes may have been rounding their back or the bar may have been too far from their body.

What I noticed is that not many people are built to pull from the floor.  For example, there is difference in proper body alignment at the start of a pull from the floor for a 7 foot basketball player versus a 5 foot 9 hockey player.

Hang Cleans are more consistent as we coach the lift to start right above the knees. Everyone looks good across the board as the arms are straight and the hips are back.  Also, when you look at the Power Clean, specifically the 2nd pull, how different is that from a Hang Clean?  By Olympic lifting from the hang position, we are taking away the deadlift-pull out of the exercise.  I am sure the Olympic weight lighting supporters will definitely disagree, but the key is that I am referring to athletes who aren’t Olympic weightlifters.  This doesn’t apply to just hockey players, but all athletes in general.

The Front Squat has been a safer alternative to the Back Squat for us. I continue to see good technique with my athletes- consistently.  Upright torsos, proper elbow positioning, depth, and proper load on the bar, allow us to get our double leg strength work in.   With the addition of the Goblet Squat to the program, we are not even considering implementing any versions of the back squat.

Another note about Hang Cleans and Front Squat is that the Front Squat compliments the Hang Clean.  Using heavier loads with the Front Squat will help athletes when they use higher loads in the clean.  They will be stronger in the catch position, especially if they have to drop under the bar to a low position.

3- Using the F.M.S. in a Team Setting isn’t Complicated

 This is something that has taken me a while to figure out.   For a few years, I was trying to make all of our players’ assessments become “3’s” with the total result of all of the screens being a “21”.  I tried to ensure that each movement of the screen was corrected.

Now we will focus on one part of the screen where an individual needs to improve.  For example, if a player exhibits an asymmetry, we are going to add corrective exercises to help improve that.  If a player shows no asymmetries, but shows a “1” or a “2” on a movement such as the deep squat or trunk stability push up, we will then focus on that correction. We have applied one aspect that is specific to their movement screen on a daily basis.  Combined with our preventative core program, the results have been positive.


4- When Evaluating an Athlete, His/Her’s Efficiency of Energy Expenditure Needs to be taken into Consideration

This was a big Ah-Ha for me.  I have recently been re-reading Joel Jamieson’s book Ultimate MMA Conditioning.  Although the title does technically make it an MMA conditioning book, most of the books’ principles can be applied to any athletes’ conditioning program.  In the book, Joel talks about 6 components of conditioning which are: rate, duration, total potential of energy production, central governing control, efficiency of energy expenditure, and neuromuscular contractility (1).  He talks about the importance of each one in their role in conditioning.

When I read the description of the efficiency of energy expenditure, I immediately thought of several hockey players that I have had the opportunity to work with.  Some players never looked fatigued in comparison to their teammates. It was honestly mind boggling when some players would have less amount of sweat on their equipment in comparison to their teammates after a game.  They were also among the league’s fastest players.

Often, people would be intrigued about some of our elite players’ physical abilities. How do they train in the off-season? What are their VO2 max scores? What about vertical jumps? These are questions that were always asked. Actually, some of the better players exhibited average scores on all of them. How was this all possible?  After reading about the efficiency of energy expenditure in Joel’s book, my answer finally hit me.  Some players’ skating skill is superior than everyone else’s. Some players in the NHL look effortless in comparison to others.  Other players may have better physical components such as strength, power, speed, and conditioning, but they did not have the elite skating efficiency that some of the best players have.  The other players are going to “gas out” way before them.


Reference- Jamieson, J.  (2009). Ultimate MMA Conditioning.  Performance Sports Inc.

Jan 062012

I hope everyone has had a great week!

Recently at HockeySC.com, we have had some great content additions.

First up is Kevin Neeld’s Vertimax Exercises For Hockey Players.  This is a good video from Kevin. I also like to use the Vertimax in the off-season for some of my older athletes who may get some back issues from some of of our Olympic lift variations.  What I really like about the vertimax is the eccentric loading when the athlete lands on the platform after jumping.  The Vertimax, along with kettlebell swings have given me more explosive exercise choices.

Next is Darryl’s Return From Holiday Break program.  Darryl doesn’t disappoint with this program.  Like I have said about Darryl’s programs in the past, they are simple. Yet, they are very effective.  I also like the incorporation of barefoot training during the workouts.  Reading Darryl’s program helps enforce to me that simple is better.  Through my RKC experience and reading of Easy Strength, I am reminded that training can be simple.

Next is my own Using Kettlebells in Professional Hockey.  Check it out if you haven’t already.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thanks for your support.