Overcoming Isometrics

Small changes we’ve made in the last few months with our off-ice training via Anthony Donskov’s work 👉 adding a 6-10 second Overcoming Isometrics as a PAP (post activation potentiation) prior to or max effort lifts.

The goal of this is simple;

  1. stimulate the nervous system
  2. recruit more motor units for the heavy Strength work to follow

Here are two examples from our lower body strength work;

Trap Bar Pin Pull ➡️ Trap Bar Deadlift
Split Squat Pin Pull ➡️ Hand Supported Split Squat

A Late Slideboard Leg Curl Progression?

A co-contraction exercise I’ve been playing around with, especially with our hockey population that is around over the summer. I believe I originally saw Wilmot post this a while back.

Couple reasons why I like this for hockey players;

  • Bridging/Hip Extension: the skating stride places the athlete in a constant flexed hip position…more bridging and/or hip Extension is huge for trying to counteract that position (down leg)
  • Hip Flexion Strength: hockey players tend to have poor functioning hip flexors and/or poor hip flexor strength. Finding ways to continually develop stronger and/or better functioning hip flexors for improved long term health (up Leg)

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!

  1. As student-athletes come back to campus we will start our screening process which consists primarily of the FMS. And the FMS is a hot topic with people but I don’t know why. The FMS does nothing but trickle out what we shouldn’t be doing with certain athletes, not predict injuries. We screen, find out where they may have some dysfunctions and/or movement issues, and load them appropriately going forward.
  2. Something I need to do more often is to trust my coaching intuition – it’ll usually leads me in the right direction.
  3. One of the things I’ve learned over the years as a coach is that it doesn’t and shouldn’t be about you. I coach what needs to be coached but I don’t over-coach. I don’t need to hear myself coaching just to hear myself. I don’t need to say something just to say something. Sometimes we are better off sitting back and letting athletes be athletes once they have become competent in the lifts they are doing.

Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into this past week. There was some really good stuff put out there, especially podcasts.

For podcasts, there were a lot to pick from. Just Fly had a great interview with Michelle Boland from Northeastern University. Tim Morrill had two good podcasts with both Kevin Carr and Marco Sanchez from MBSC and Movement as Medicine. I also enjoyed listening to Don Saladin from Drive495, someone who has done a great job of building both a thriving business and a thriving personal brand.

For articles, read Eric Cressey’s Superset Survival Guide…so much practical info on how to apply supersets in the training programs you write.



Just Fly Performance with Michelle Boland

Talking About Performance with Kevin Carr

Talking About Performance with Brendon Rearick

Vigor Life #58

Renegade Radio with Don Saladino


The Superset Survival Guide by Eric Cressey

Random Thoughts on Sports Performance by Eric Cressey

10 Breathing Exercises for Stronger Abs by Evelyn Spence

The Missing Link in Physical Preparation by Michael Zweifel

To Lift or Not to Lift: The Rewards and Risks of Game Day Lifting by Bob Alejo

Random Thoughts – August Edition

Another month, another post full of random thoughts that have been going through my head. Hope it sparks a little thought in people and you enjoy!

  1. Been rethinking some of the things I do with teams. I’ve always liked and programmed Hang Snatch, but I’m beginning to question if its for everyone (I don’t hang snatch volleyball ever). If someone doesn’t have the ability to do a wall slide (which many can’t) I don’t think they have earned the right or have the needed mobility to have a bar over their head. If they don’t have the shoulder mobility they’ll mostly likely compensate by using their lumbar spines – which isn’t good. I am probably leaning towards more DB Snatch (1-arm), Hang Clean, KB Swings and loaded jumps going forward for our loaded power development.
  2. The objective of strength and conditioning isn’t to make people tired and sore, its to make them better and more resilient to the demands of their sport.
  3. Don’t sacrifice health for the sake of performance in the weight room. There are ways to have both with smart, well thought out programming.
  4. In the off-season I have been leaning to doing very little running with basketball teams and volleyball teams. They run/jump way to much as it is even in the off-season. We have been doing more Assault bike work to take some pounding off their joints. We do a lot of slideboard work to get them in the frontal plane and again take wear and tear off their joints. Your training with an athlete is either a negative or a positive – more running/pounding on their joints probably isn’t a positive.
  5. I still don’t get why people push back so hard against uni-lateral lower body strength as a method to train max strength. I’m by no means against bilateral lifting, we trap bar deadlift often. We do a lot of power work bilaterally through cleans and loaded jumps. But, the research on the bilateral deficit is real and you can reach some huge numbers on one leg (check out UMass Lowell Men’s hockey RFESS if you don’t believe me). I’ve seen athletes with huge bilateral lift numbers that struggle with split squats at what would be considered light weight compared to their bilateral lifts. Sports are primarily played on one leg and specificity always reigns supreme – so why aren’t we pushing more max effort work on 1-leg?
  6. There are so many benefits to loaded carries. It baffles my mind that they aren’t a staple in programs.
  7. Absorb as much great information as possible from as many great coaches as you can. Filter and then apply that information in a way that works in the situation that you are currently in.
  8. A good coach never stops growing – and there is no reason to stop growing with all the information that is readily available through books and podcasts these days.
  9. A lot of times the team that wins is the team that has the most talent available and healthy on game day.
  10. The off-season programs I have been implementing this year haven’t been very sophisticated and/or complicated. The focus has been on doing less and doubling down on what we consider important, but doing it better then everyone else.

Pre-Train Med Ball Work

Every single day that I train I throw med balls. I use different weights. I throw into the wall with two arms. I throw into the wall with one arm. I slam into the ground. I toss rotationally. I throw from different angles all the time. I perform them kneeling. I perform the ½ kneeling. I perform them standing and I perform the dynamically by stepping etc.

It’s actually kind of fun – but that’s not the biggest reason I think we should all be throwing med balls often.

The big reason is that throwing med balls helps the core link the upper and lower body together. You create force with your lower body, the force gets transferred through the core, and ends with the release of the med ball.

For overhead med ball throws and slams the deceleration of the shoulder once the ball has been released can go a long way in shoulder health.

For an athlete that needs rotational power, like a hockey player shooting a puck, can develop the ability to create more power with side tosses, scoop tosses and other rotational work.

If you want to create more power, and everyone (athlete or weekend warrior) needs to learn to link power between the upper and lower body. Throw med balls, with intent, often.

Ladder Countdown Density Circuit

Another day, another circuit. Got crushed by this yesterday before I got crushed by the sun today

🔟 Set Countdown Ladder;

  • KB Swing 2️⃣0️⃣▶️2️⃣ (20-18-16 etc)
  • Push Up 2️⃣0️⃣▶️2️⃣
  • Inverted Row 🔟▶️1️⃣
  • 2KB Front Squat 🔟▶️1️⃣

Rest around 6️⃣0️⃣ seconds between each round.

If your in a mood and really want to bury yourself 🤮 go back up the ladder.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday! Here are a few thoughts bouncing around in my head after a week of reading, podcasts and other continuing ed. Enjoy!

  1. It’s still makes me scratch my head to see that people think the amount of weight on the bar or the amount of weight being moved in a certain exercise somehow relates to the worth of the exercise. Just because you are lifting more weight with one exercise compared to the other doesn’t mean that the exercise using less weight is less important or less difficult. Perfect example: 1-Leg Squats. I challenge you to perform 2-3 sets of 5 reps with an added external load of 30-50lbs and then tell me that you don’t need to be strong to perform that lift. The reality is most people probably won’t even be able to do 2-3 good sets of 5 with 30-50 measly pounds of external load.
  2. Good, intelligent coach can fix a lot of things.
  3. I enjoy when people claim they don’t like kettlebells or dumbbells or barbells and as a result don’t use them in their programs. To be honest, its kind of moronic. They are all pieces of iron. They all can create an adaptation. They all have their place in a strength program. They are all just another tool that you can use to create overload and adaptation.

Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into this past week. There was some really good stuff put out there, especially podcasts.

For podcasts, I really enjoyed the Physical Prep with Jordan Syatt. Jordan is Gary Vaynerchuk’s personal trainer and someone that dropped a ton of knowledge that we could all apply to our lives both in and out of the gym. This was more then your typical fitness/strength and conditioning podcast.

For articles, without a doubt, carve out 15-20 minutes (or more) to read Harold Gibbons’ article recapping the Perform Better Summit. I am actually going to go through a read it again because I know I missed something or a lot of somethings. So much solid information!



Pacey Performance #192 – Sprint Masterclass

Physical Prep with Jordan Syatt

Vigor Life #57

FitCast #486 with Dan John

School of Greatness with Tony Hawk


Recap of the 2018 Perform Better Summit by Harold Gibbons

5 Things I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me About Coaching by Mike Robertson

33 Ways to Be an Insanely Productive, Happy, and Balanced Person

Strength in the Teenage Years by Eric Cressey

Understanding Sports Hernia by Michael Boyle

Making Movement a Priority

I am a firm believer that you need to make movement a priority everyday. Here is a quick 20 minute Density Circuit I’ve been on days that I’m pressed for time or just don’t feel like doing a traditional strength session. Set the clock for 20-30 minutes and go.

  • Push Up x 20
  • KB Swing x 15
  • Suspension Row x 10
  • 2KB Front Squat x 5
  • 2KB Carry x 20 Steps
  • Stepping Side Toss x 5 each

Give it a try!