Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into. Like every other week, there was a ton of content out there both in written form and through podcasts.

For podcasts, I enjoyed listening to Dr. John Rusin on the CVASP Podcast. Dr. Rusin is very active on social media but I haven’t listened to him speak very often and it was nice to hear – lots of good things.

For articles, Zach Dechant knocked one out of the park with his article on making mistakes as a coach. A must read.



Iron Game Chalk Talk with Matt Solomon

Leave Your Mark with Stephen Norris

CVASP #160 with Dr. John Rusin

CVASP #162 with Alan Bishop

True Strength with Andrea Hudy


The Coaches Order of Operation by Todd Hamer

A Return to Play by Jeremy Frisch

3 Big Mistakes by Zach Dechant


Training Female Athletes

Training female athletes is no different then training male athletes. All bones are the same. All muscles are the same. Therefore, they should be trained the same.

What is different? Many coaches have lower expectations and because of that don’t get near the results they could. Don’t be afraid to push female athletes. Don’t be afraid to expect a lot out of them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how badass and 💪 they’ll become.

Bear/Lateral Crawl

Bear Crawls and Lateral Crawls…

🔷 Closed chain
🔷 Core stability
🔷 Hits the often neglected serratus anterior
🔷 Promotes scapular upward rotation

🔶 People rush through them
🔶 People let their low backs and hips move/drift while moving

➡️ Add an external cue that will force an athlete to not only slow down but also maintain control and stability

Band Resisted Goblet Squat

If you are anything like me then your body doesn’t respond well to heavy spinal loading through front or back squats, which leads me to performing a healthy dose of Goblet and 2KB Front Squats, which then leads me to play around with some alternative ways to load them.

Kind of like this one for a couple reasons ⬇️

🔷 Bilateral squatting is important and the movement should be consistently trained in some way, which this allows me to do
🔷 Zero spinal loading or compression, something we probably want to start limiting as we age
🔷 Bands give a unique accommodating resistance
🔷 Lower system load then but still get a training effect
🔷 Pain free – can smoke the quads without any joint pain the following days

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. One the last Strength Coach Podcast (#244), Fergus Connolly spoke about how continual learning is what separates the good coaches from the bad coaches. That the really great coaches aren’t afraid to change their minds because of the material they are consuming, because the only thing that matters is doing the best job possible for the people you work with. And I couldn’t agree more – spot on!
  2. The best form of athlete monitoring is having great relationships and talking to the athletes you work with on a daily basis. Chances are they’ll tell you everything you need to know and can work from there.
  3. Staying on the podcast theme, Kelly Starrett was recently on the Leave Your Mark Podcast. He mentioned that people are going to routinely live the 100 years of age going forward, and because of that we need to constantly be working on our movement hygiene if we want to enjoy those last 30-40 years. More mobility work on a daily basis!

Weekend Week in Review

Another week, another group of podcasts and articles to read and listen to that I have dived into. Like every other week, there was a ton of content out there both in written form and through podcasts.

For podcasts, I really enjoyed both of the Pacey Performance episodes, one with Keir Wenham-Flatt and Michael Boyle. Rob’s podcast is definitely one of my favorite podcasts out there – always good stuff.

For articles, for coaches that spend a lot of time on the floor working, the article by Movement as Medicine on shorter but more dense workouts is great. They are something that I have incorporated into my weekly lifting schedule and have really enjoyed.



Pacey Performance with Keir Wenham-Flatt

Pacey Performance with Mike Boyle

Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast with Jorge Carvajal

Strength Coach Podcast #244

Leave Your Mark with Kelly Starrett


Short on Time? Don’t Your Training by Movement as Medicine

Sport Specific vs. Athlete Specific by Pat Livesey Jr.

Myths in Strength and Conditioning That Need to Disappear by Justin Ochoa

Correctives by Dan John

Injuries vs. Niggles by Eric Cressey

Thoughts on In-Season Hockey Training

I had this Friday off so I decided to put together a quick little brain-dump on in-season training with hockey players. Nothing new or outside the box, but some good reminders for other coaches working with hockey as well as a lot at what we are doing on a weekly basis.

#1: Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Diaphragmatic Breathing

“If breathing isn’t normalized no other movement pattern will be.” Karl Lewit

This is simple: diaphragmatic breathing is probably the simplest and easiest thing we can perform with our athletes when it comes to changing and improving movement and performance.

Proper respiration leads to better posture. Better posture leads to an athlete that is more resilient to injury and leads to better performance. More resilient + better performance = better athlete. Don’t miss out on the low hanging fruit.


#2: Consistently Sprinting On and Off Ice

Acceleration is king in most sports and hockey is no different. Winning chases to loose pucks and stops/starts are all acceleration based. If you want to be fast in short distances you need to consistently working to improve being fast over short distances.

Consistently timing 10 yard sprints is one of the best additions to our off-ice program that we’ve ever made (thanks Tony Holler & Michael Boyle). We’ve always performed acceleration work, but the intent has improved (a night and day difference) when the athlete is sprinting versus the timer.

With the way our week is set up we have been able to consistently time 10’s off-ice every Monday. We have done some timed sprints on-ice this fall but not as consistently as we’d like or probably should. In a perfect world, with our current weekly set up, we’d like to time 10’s off-ice on Monday’s and on-ice on Wednesdays.

#3: Anti-Extension for Hip/Groin Health

We perform a lot of things year round to help maintain hip/groin health. Some are smaller ‘prehab’ type things we’ll perform as part of our daily warm ups (tissue quality work, Cook Hip Lifts and other bridge work, different Foam Roll/Pilates Ring groin squeezes, various hip flexor strengthening/function work, etc.) while others are training staples like anti-extension core work with movements like rollouts, fallouts, front plank variations and body saws.

Long story short, our goal is to create balance;
– overworked/tight hip flexors can pull the pelvis into an anteriorly tipped position
– creating stiffness through the anterior core with anti-extension core work does the opposite, pulling the pelvis into a more superior position

#4: Training Power Outside the Sagittal Plane

Hockey is played in different planes, so we train power in different planes. Do we Olympic lift or perform loaded power exercises? Sure. We still hang clean, dumbbell snatch and do jump squats with the trap bar, but we also spend just as much time training power outside of the sagittal plane. We throw med balls in various planes three different days (Monday/Wednesday/Thursday) over the course of each week.

#5: More Hip Extension

This is pretty straight forward: hockey is a sport that is played in constant hip flexed position. Therefore, in order to do everything you can to keep hips healthy, I think its critical to train hip extension often in-season through sprinting, sled marching, 1-leg deadlift’s, slideboard leg curl’s, and 1-leg bench hip lift’s among other lifts/movements.

This year we’ve taken it a bit further and tried adding a little more hip extension throughout the course of the week. On our Day One (Monday) lift we’ll typically do some timed 10’s (2-4 sprints), 1-leg deadlifts (generally 3 sets of 5), and slideboard leg curls (2 sets of 5-8). On our Day 2 (Wednesday) lift while getting in some sled marching (3 sets 5-10 steps each) and 1-leg bench hip lifts (2 sets of 8-12) on our day 2 lift. So far, so good.

#6: Purely 1-Leg Training

Piggybacking off the previous thought, at this point in the year all of our lower body strength work has been transitioned into single leg through 1-leg squats, split squat variations, 1-leg deadlifts, etc.. We perform bilateral lifts like Trap Bar Deadlifts and Goblet Squats in the off-season, but I’m of the opinion that during the competitive season, spending too much time training bilateral strength as well as in the sagittal plane, could potentially have the tendency to lead to imbalances of the hip adductors/abductors. With the additional benefit of potentially more carry-over to the sport of ice hockey/skating, it seems like an obvious choice at this point of the year.

#7: Chin Up = Our #1 Upper Body Strength Movement

We push chin ups and we push them hard. It isn’t often that we go a week without performing some type of chin up or chin up variation. In sports where there is a chance for potential collision-related shoulder injuries, whether it be a collision with an opposing player or a collision with the boards in the case of hockey, pulling strength is hugely important from an injury prevention standpoint.

#8: Shoulder Friendly Pressing

Probably one of the big things we do different then other programs; we don’t bench press with a barbell in-season. Yes, we still bench press, but its more of an off-season movement for us. Most hockey players don’t tend to have the best posture in the world and live in that classic shoulders rolled forward posture, in large part because of the sport demands.

Because of that, in-season we tend to focus more on what we would consider more shoulder friendly pressing movements; landmine press variations, dumbbell bench press, 1DB and alternating dumbbell variations (flat and incline) and push ups. When the season ends and we spend much less time on the ice we can clean up posture we’ll bench with a barbell more often, but in-season its a simple risk > reward scenario for us.


Post Season Aerobic Circuit

First day back with @unhvolleyball and we got after a “Countdown” style aerobic circuit, using the assault bike, goblet squat, neutral grip push ups, inverted row, standing belly press, and med ball overhead slams.

🔴 1 Mile Ride
🔴 Round of 10 reps, Round of 9 reps
🔴 1 Mile Ride
🔴 Round of 8 reps, Round of 7 reps
🔴 1 Mile Ride
🔴 Round of 6 reps, Round of 5 reps
🔴 1 Mile Ride
🔴 Round of 4 reps, Round of 3 reps
🔴 1 Mile Ride
🔴 Round of 2 reps, Round of 1 rep


Med Ball Overhead Throw

🔷 Trains/improves anterior core power
🔷 Helps to teach and athlete how to transfer power from the ground, through the core, and out of the hands
🔷 Excellent drill for a throwing/overhead athlete to teach the posterior shoulder to decelerate effectively that is similar to throwing a ⚾️ or hitting a 🏐
🔷 Allows for the ability to train power outside the sagittal plane

Our progression goes from tall kneeling ➡️ 1/2 kneeling ➡️ standing ➡️ stepping ➡️ 2-step. We never use a med ball heavier then 4lbs to maintain velocity.

Each progression adds either more joints or movement, which leads to greater velocity. Greater velocity = more power output and a greater demand on the posterior shoulder to decelerate.

We typically program 2-3 sets of 5-10 throws depending on the time of year and training effect we are after.

Why We Love Landmine Pressing

Why the Landmine Press has become a staple in our pressing movements:

🔶 Overhead Pressing is important for various reasons and needs to be trained – it’s often overlooked in favor of horizontal pressing like the bench press which is often over-emphasized by coaches/athletes.
🔶 Don’t try to fit a square leg in a round hole. Like it or not, there aren’t many people or athletes that have the mobility to go overhead without compensation. If you don’t have the ability or range of motion to press overhead and do it anyway, don’t be surprised if you end up getting hurt.
🔶 Promotes full scapular range of motion.
🔶 Unique demand on the core + standing, the way most sports are played.
🔶 Unilateral, which allows for more ease on the shoulders.
🔶 Generally more shoulder friendly then pressing with any type of straight bar.