Random Thoughts: February 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! Random Thoughts Pic

  1. Lot of debate lately on uni-lateral vs. bilateral lower body strength training. I lean towards uni-lateral but we also perform bilateral lifts. Its not an all or nothing, its about developing a well rounded performance program.
  2. All great strength coaches are thieves. They steal anything great they can find from other coaches and then apply it to their own program.
  3. Vertical pulling movements need to be pushed just as hard as you are pushing your pressing movements. Critical for shoulder health.
  4. “Powerlifters are athletes, but athletes aren’t powerlifters.” – Mike Boyle
  5. Transfer is the name of the game when it comes to the weight room.
  6. “Rule #1 of coaching: don’t hurt your client/athlete.” – Dr. John Rusin
  7. Nothing comes close to sprinting when it comes to load on hamstrings. A great way to keep hamstrings healthy.
  8. “With confidence you believe you can overcome your weaknesses. With arrogance you don’t even see your weaknesses.” – Eric Mangini
  9. Avoiding injury is essential…developing absolute/brute strength probably isn’t.
  10. In the long run, the coaches that are continually learning, developing and pushing themselves to become better at their jobs, will be the ones eventually leading the field and becoming the great coaches.


Hockey Thoughts Day 9: Complementary Training

One thing we’ve tried to do this year is focus our daily training, trying to get our speed, plyo/jump, power and strength work all complementing one another each day that we train. It’s also really nice when you see great coaches like @dmcconnell29 doing something somewhat similar. What we are currently doing.

Monday (Day 1): More of a strength or ‘force’ day where we are either having to create more force or longer impulse. Examples of what we are doing ⬇️

💥 Speed: Sled Sprints 💨
💥 Plyo/Jump: Seated Box Jumps, Band Resisted Broad Jumps, 1-Leg Linear Hurdle Hops, etc
💥 Power: Trap Bar Jump Squats
💥 Strength Training: Standard strength training. Also the day we will place any exercises that may cause soreness the following days, like RFE Split Squats or 1-Leg RDL’s

Wednesday (Day 2): More or a Speed/Power or ‘dynamic’ day where everything is done faster and shorter impulse. Examples of what we are doing ⬇️

💥 Speed: Timed 10’s
💥 Plyo/Jump: Depth Drop to Box Jump, Continuous Hurdle Jumps, etc
💥 Power: Hang Clean, DB Snatch, etc
💥 Strength Training: More speed-strength type work where we’ve been using a lot of contrast/complex training. Also the day we will place strength work that has little chance of creating soreness like a Sled March.

Hockey Thoughts Day 8: Non-Rotational Med Ball Work

I posted about this same topic a little while back so I’ll keep it short and to the point ➡️ during the season hockey players perform a ton of rotational movements through actions like shooting or passing the puck. As much as I love rotational med ball work, doing more rotational work during this time period is probably trying filling a bucket that’s already overflowing. We save most all our rotational med ball work for the off-season, except for a couple sets of Side Tosses the day before a game to try to get a PAP effect.

Advice: we tend to focus more on non-rotational type med ball work, things like chest pass variations, overhead throw variations, and overhead Slam variations.

Hockey Thoughts Day 7: Continually Developing Speed and Acceleration

Anyone that follows me know that I’ve talked a lot about speed and acceleration the last 6-8 months, but I think it’s incredibly important in developing hockey players. Strength coaches will spend time developing strength year round but won’t spend the time to develop speed which to me makes no sense…no one is ever TOO fast, which is why we train the quality consistently in-season.

What really separates players on the ice is their ability to explosively accelerate ➡️ who can gain the most distance in a short period of time to get to loose pucks, catch an opposing player on a backcheck, or the ability to jump up into a play and turn a 2 on 2 into a an odd man rush — so why would we stop trying to train that quality??

Additional Benefit #1: It’s also a great way to get hockey players into hip extension, something they always need more of.

Additional Benefit #2: Though it is rare in hockey, there is some research (Freeman etc al. 2018) showing that sprinting is key for both ⬆️ sprint performance (obviously) but also ⬇️ in hamstring injury risk.

Hockey Thoughts Day 6: Primarily 1-Leg Strength Work

A few days back I touched on how we perform more sagittal plane (really non-frontal plane work to be specific) in-season to try to create more balance across the hips with all the skating that they do. But we also almost exclusively perform 1-Leg Lower Body work in-season for a couple reasons

  1. Spending too much time training bilateral strength and not requiring the hip stabilizers to stabilize in all three planes has the tendency to lead to potential imbalances of the hip abductors/adductors ➡️ 1-Leg training will help train those smaller hip stabilizers in a functional way
  2. Charlie Weingroff’s concept of ‘Lowest System Load’ ➡️ heavy, two leg lifting is a great way to really stress the system — which is probably isn’t something we want to do in-season. We can probably get the same strength benefits from single leg training without putting nearly the load on the system — seems like a no-brainer
  3. 1-Leg Work arguably and probably has more carryover to the sport of ice hockey and/or skating. General in the off-season, specific during the in-season.

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! hello monday

  1. This is a Tweet from Head Strength Coach at Elon University, Nick DiMarco and something that I agree with 100%;
    • “Most of the time we’d rather be wrong with the crowd, than be right with ourselves.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits. A leading reason why bilateral back squats are still performed in 99% of programs. Along with the ‘that’s what we’ve always done’ mentality.
  2. Stop thinking exercise and start thinking movement/adaptation. Chase the adaptation, not an exercise or amount of weight on the bar.
  3. Nothing comes close to sprinting for load on the hamstrings. Sprinting is obviously great for speed development, but they are also great from a hamstring injury prevention standpoint…and the research is starting to show just that.
  4. Transfer is the name of the game for strength coaches.

S&C Week in Review: 2/17

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. Enjoy! Weekend Review


For podcasts, I listened to a bunch of podcasts that were a little old, but a lot that were good nonetheless. If I were to pick one or two to recommend, I enjoyed listening to Michael Vaughn talk about monitoring at Merrimack College and I also enjoyed listening to Pete Dupuis speaking about business on the Business for Unicorns podcast.

Pacey Performance with Geoff Head

Hockey Strength Podcast with Kevin Neeld

FirstBeat Podcast with Michael Vaughn

NSCA Podcast with Devan McConnell and Justin Roethlingshoefer

Business for Unicorns with Pete Dupuis


For articles, you could go with a classic like Mike Boyle’s article on training hip flexion, which is a great read. In addition, Eric Cressey posted a really cool glute-ham raise variation that people may want to check out.

Master Your Kettlebell Swing by Matthew Ibrahim

Understanding and Training Hip Flexion by Michael Boyle

The Sleep Tip You Should Never Give a Client by Mike T. Nelson

Our Youth Sport Culture is Broken by Brandon Day

Exercise of the Week: Glute-Ham Raise with Banded Reach by Eric Cressey

Top Twitter Post of the Wee

Top Instagram Post of the Week

View this post on Instagram

In-Season Hockey 🏒Training Thoughts 💭Day 1 of 10 (or maybe 15, we’ll see 🤷‍♂️) .. — 💥Use Contrast/Complex Training for Power Development 💥. . — In-season this year our Wednesday lift has included a heavy dose of contrast/complex training (pairing a biomechanically similar strength exercise with a power exercise) to increase power development. . — We’ve performed a lot of different combos over the last 4-6 months, here are a few 👇 💥 Trap Bar DL ➡️ Jump Squat.. . 💥 Chin Up ➡️ Overhead Slam.. . 💥 Sled March ➡️ Timed 10’s.. . 💥 Alternating DB Bench ➡️ Partner Chest Pass.. . — Though we still focus on developing strength (our Monday lift is much more strength focused) a main of ours this year has been to develop the most powerful, most explosive, and fastest hockey players we can, not necessarily developing the strongest players we can.

A post shared by Craig Edwards (@craig__edwards) on

Hockey Thoughts Day 5: Loaded Jumps for Power Output and Shoulder Health?

Quick 💭 👉 I am a huge fan of loaded jumps for power output for hockey, especially in-season because they are easy to teach, are simple to learn and result in complete triple extension majority of the time. But the biggest reason…

Shoulder Health ‼️➡️ We know hockey players present some issues from a shoulder health standpoint. We know a movement like the Hang Clean requires a decent amount of shoulder internal rotation (otherwise you see the bar drifting away from the body) and external rotation (catch position) to perform correctly. We know it takes a ton of shoulder mobility to get into the correct finish position for a Hang Snatch. But Loaded Jumps place very little stress on the shoulder complex 👉 they are an extremely simple way to give the shoulder complex a little bit of a rest from the demands from a long hockey season.

Hockey Thoughts Day 4: Train Across the Entire Force-Velocity Curve

Hockey is a sport that’s all about speed and power — and we spend a lot of our training time continually trying to develop the quality no matter the time of the year. The reality for us is that we are more concerned with being the fastest and most powerful team in the league, and not overly concerned with being the strongest team in the league.

Each and every lift in-season we try to touch on all ends of the force-velocity curve, even if it’s just a small amount, by training power with different loads through various degrees of velocity, just like we would in the off-season. We try to develop more power via numerous different modalities.

✅ We sprint because it is without a doubt the fastest thing we can do in the weight room — and no one will ever be too fast
✅ We perform bodyweight power through various jumps/plyos
✅ We throw med balls for what we would consider ‘light implement’ power
✅ We perform ‘heavy implement’ power through jump squats, hang cleans, Landmine split jerks and other similar movements

Hockey Thoughts Day 3: Rowing for Shoulder Health

In-Season Hockey 🏒Training Thoughts 💭Day 3

💥 More Rowing for Shoulder Health 💥

🗣 The scapular stabilizers are the most important muscles for protecting the shoulder — Zach Dechant

Really simple thought ➡️ hockey players tend to have pretty cranky shoulders. The position that skating places you in, bent over with the shoulders rolled forward, adds up over the course of a season to some potentially poor posture.

Because of that we make sure to have close to a 2:1 pull to press ratio throughout the course of the in-season period (all year really) with our upper body training, with a large amount of that pulling being focused on rowing.

More Rowing + Less Pressing/More Shoulder Friendly Pressing = Healthy Shoulders (🤞)