Slide Board Conditioning

Slide Board conditioning is pretty standard in the sport of hockey but relatively rare in other sports. But should it be?

The Slide Board offers a host of benefits that any athlete would greatly benefit from. A handful of benefits would be;

1. It’s standing. Sports are played standing, not sitting on something like a bike.

2. It is performed in what looks like the general ‘athletic’ position with the knees bent and hips flexed position. Basically every sport spends time in this position.

3. It’s gets athletes moving laterally/in the frontal plane. We spend so much of our time going straight ahead and a huge amount of strength training is done in a linear movement pattern. However, much of sport is played in the frontal plane. Basketball is the perfect example of a sport that has a huge lateral component (think defense) and would benefit greatly from the Slide Board.
4. It allows the athlete to work both the abductors and adductors in a functional pattern. Would simply adding Slide Board conditioning prevent some of the groin injuries seen so often in pre-season camps?

5. The athletes feet never leave the ground. Sports like basketball and volleyball require a lot of jumping and landing even in the off-season when they are playing pick up games, spring practices, and spring tournaments. The Slide Board offers a great conditioning alternative to still work energy system development without adding considerably more stress on the athletes body like we would see with sprinting.

6. It’s hard. Anyone who doesn’t think the Slide Board is a legit conditioning workout hasn’t ever done it. Try 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for a set a 10 and get back to me – you’ll have a new found respect for the Slide Board.

7. Lastly, the Slide Board trains the muscles that are directly involved in change of direction. Along with a well thought out strength program, could the Slide Board be beneficial in change of direction speed development and injury prevention?

Long story short – any and every athlete could and would benefit from conditioning on the Slide Board.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 1/8

It’s Wednesday which means another group of good reads from the last week or so. Enjoy!

Good Reads 1

Interview with Mike Boyle Boyle by Mladen Jovanovic

7 Lessons Learned in 2013 by Jason Ferruggia

Like ACL Prevention, ACL Rehab is Just Good Training by Charlie Weingroff

Dorsiflexion and Glute Activation by Charlie Weingroff

Best of 2013 by Eric Cressey

Best of 2013 by Tony Gentilcore

How to RDL by Mike Robertson

The Top 10 Articles of 2013 by Mike Robertson

5 Things I Learned in 2013 by Anthony Donskov

The Wisdom of Dan John

Out of all the strength coaches out there, Dan John has to be one of my favorites. I mean honestly, how can you not love someone that has two first names? Anything Dan writes I read. Whenever he does an interview, I listen. Thankfully, I am not the only one that feels this way and Dan gets plenty of opportunities to speak at conferences and in interviews.

Dan John

One of the biggest reasons I love Dan John is because he keeps everything so simple. Dan definitely lives by the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Beyond that, everything he says and writes is always spot on and hard to argue with. Yes, a lot of his programs and philosophies are simple, but they are also extremely effective and fun – his programs add a little spice to your boring training.

Because of this, I wanted to share with you some of Dan John’s training programs. Like I said, he keeps things so simple but the programs are still effective and challenging. Try them out and see how they work for you, I’m willing to bet you will find them extremely challenging but also fun! Enjoy.

Barbell Complex

One of Dan John’s staples is the barbell complex. The awesome thing about a barbell complex is there are so many ways that you can go with it. What a barbell complex is a series of exercises that you perform with a barbell, one right after another. For example, one of my go-to’s is a deadlift to RDL to hang clean to front squat to overhead press complex. Complete that five times, rest for 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 3-5 rounds. It’ll take 10-15 minutes and you’ll be gassed – it’s a great finisher at the end of a training session.

100 Reps

This program might not be a true Dan John program, but it is something that I have seen him write about. This program is about is simple as it gets: pick an exercise and perform 100 reps in a little amount of sets as possible. For example, you may toss 135lbs on the bar and start benching until you hit 100 reps. Maybe it takes you 5 sets, maybe it takes you 15, who knows. The only real rule is to never hit failure, always leave a rep or two in the tank.

8 X 3 on the Minute

Another really straight forward but fun program. Again, pick an exercise and a moderate to moderately heavy weight. Simply perform a set of 3, on the minute, for 8 minutes. The first few rounds may not be terribly challenging, but it gets tough. I typically like to do this with something like chin ups – for some reason I think it works well.

Cluster Challenge

Now here is a real fun program. A cluster challenge works a little something like this. You pick an exercise and a weight…we’ll stick to the bench press and start at 135 again. You then perform a set of 2, a set of 3, and a set of 5, resting about 15 seconds between sets. Once you complete that, you add weight to the bar and go through the sets again (2,3,5). You then complete this cycle again, adding weight to the bar. Finally you reach the 4th and final cluster, which is the “challenge cluster”. By this point you should be somewhat tired from all the benching (or squatting, or chin ups, or whatever) and at a relatively heavy weight – hence the “challenge cluster”. Enjoy this one.


One of my favorites is a ladder. A ladder is somewhat similar to the cluster challenge with a few differences. Again, pick an exercise and toss a moderate weight on the bar. Perform 1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3 reps, rest, 4 reps, rest, 5 reps rest and then start back at 1 rep again. Go through the ladder 3 times. You could pick other rep schemes, something like 2-3-5 or 5-7-10 or really anything you would like. Again, effective and much harder than you think, especially if you pick an appropriate weight.

10 Rep Countdown

The final program is really straight forward. Pick an exercise and weight and then perform 10 reps and rest. Then 9, rest. Then 8, rest. So on and so forth until you hit a single rep. Again, not very difficult to understand but a total ass kicker to actually perform!

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 10/9

Here are another series of blogs, articles, and interviews from the past week. Enjoy!

Strength Coach Podcast 131

Reviewing the Cressey Performance Seminar Part I by Tony Gentilcore

Reviewing the Cressey Performance Seminar Part II by Tony Gentilcore

Ipsilateral vs Contralateral by Dean Somerset

Categorizing Core Stability Exercises by Eric Cressey

My Thoughts on The Paleo Diet by Jason Ferruggia

Ron McKeefery’s Iron Game Chalk Talk with Leo Totten

CrossFit and High Rep Olympic Lifting by Bryan Krahn

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 9/25




Here are another series of articles, blogs, and interviews from the last week. Enjoy.


Muscle Snatch for Strength and Power by Wil Fleming

Eric Cressey on Iron Game Chalk Talk with Ron McKeefrey

Are Bulgarian Squats Superior to Regular Squats? by Ben Bruno

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret by Eric Robertson

3 Training Lessons You Can Learn From MMA by Martin Rooney

9 Great Ways to Improve Your Workouts by Dan John

Core Exercise Progressions by Mike Boyle

The Lowdown on Levers by Dean Somerset

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 2/13

Here are a few good reads to get you through another work week;

Boring Work

8 Blast Strap Exercises for Serious Upper Body Muscle by Ben Bruno

7 Ways to Get Strong Outside the Sagittal Plane by Eric Cressey

When to Specialize by Mike Boyle

A Logical Argument Against the Tracy Anderson Method by Dean Somerset

Smart Overhead Pressing by Dean Somerset

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Box Jumps by Tony Gentilcore

Training Percentages Made Simple by Jordan Syatt

Instructional Youtube Videos by Bret Contreras

4 Ways to Write Faster Programs by Mike Robertson

Punch the Clock Workouts by Mike Robertson

Conditioning…What’s Best for the Athlete by Shelton Stevens

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

“I don’t have time to be healthy.”

That is one of the most used and abused statements that strength coaches and personal trainers hear over and over again. It may the one of the universal excuses that people use when they don’t reach their goals of getting into better shape or the reason they don’t even try to get into shape.

But in my eyes, it’s just that – an excuse.

I am fully aware that there are many people who are busier than I am, but I like to feel that I am relatively busy. Between classes and everything that comes along with that, working at UNH, being a USA Hockey Official, and someone who tries to have a social life, I find time to make time to be healthy. Oh, and I make it a priority to read an hour a day on something related to strength and conditioning or personal development.

How do I go about making sure to find time to work out and make healthy food choices? To be honest, it’s all about planning ahead. Every night before I go to bed I try to figure out what my next day is going to look like. Look at what team responsibilities I may have at UNH, what hockey games I may have to officiate, and depending on the time of the year I may have to take classes into account as well.

Once I figure those things out, the first thing I do is plan where I am going to find time to work out. I make it a priority to find time and I also recognize how much time I am going to have to work out which allows me to plan ahead for the workout itself. Let me repeat that, I make it a priority.

The next thing I do is figure out when I am going to have a chance to grab something to eat – which is basically the most important thing in my life since I am a fat kid at heart. Am I going to have time to make breakfast? Will I have time to run to a store and grab something healthy to eat at any point? Should I throw together a couple of protein shakes to get me through the day? These are all things I ask myself going when planning the day ahead.

When it comes down to it, I make it a priority to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Am I perfect? Nope. Do I eat crappy foods from time to time and miss workouts? Yup. For the most part though, I make healthy food choices and make it a priority to workout 4-5 times a week, consistently, week to week and month to month.

Anyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle but you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable and make it a priority. You only have one body, treat it accordingly.

Simple Program Design

This time of the year everyone and their uncle is making their way back into gyms across the country in order to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and get into better shape, whatever that means. (Don’t worry regular gym goers, they’ll be gone in a couple more weeks.) Because of this, more and more people are looking for solid information on what exactly they should be doing during these gym sessions to be as productive as possible. Thankfully, I am here to help you out and save your day.


When it comes to programming there are many different programs out there, some great, some not so great, and some lying somewhere in the middle. The more I learn the more I keep coming back to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) when it comes to programing, especially when it comes to the typical gym goer that is looking to move better, feel better, and look better and not worried about athletic performance. When looking at many different programs out there, it is clear that people cthink that things need to be complicated to be effective while in reality simple program can be as effective is any program as well as difficult. At the end of the day, the basics aren’t broken.

With that said, in order for a program to be effective people need to perform something explosive to maintain power, push something, pull something, perform a knee dominant movement, a hip dominant movement, some type of core exercise and then finish off with some conditioning of some sort. They need to train like an athlete with compound movements with a focus on movements, not muscles. A few examples of all of these different movements would look something like this;

Jump Squat, Kettlebell Swings, Dumbbell Snatch

Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench, Incline Press, Dumbbell Incline Press, Push Up’s, Overhead Dumbbell Press

Chin Up, Neutral Grip Chin Up, TRX Row, Dumbbell Row, Seated Row

Knee Dominant
Goblet Squat, Single Leg Squat, Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat, Slideboard Lunge, Step Up’s

Hip Dominant
Trap Bar Deadlift, RDL, Single Leg RDL, Glut-Ham Raise, Slideboard Leg Curl, Hip Lift

Front Plank, Side Plank, Straight Leg Sit Up, Med Ball Slams, Rollouts, Anti-Rotation Press

Bike Sprints, Sled Pushes, Loaded Carries, Ropes

I would also recommend not going overboard and trying to do too much – chances are you’re not 18 anymore and need to train accordingly. The first thing you should do is work of your tissue quality. Grab a form roller and roll out areas that are tight and sore than stretch a little bit to help loosen yourself up after a day of sitting at a desk or in your car.

foam rolling

After that, a simple program would do the trick. Following is an easy to follow three day program would work wonders for someone in this situation of trying to move better, feel better and look better. The workout could look something like this;

Day One
A1) Kettelbell Swing – 3×12
A2) Front Plank – 3×20-30 seconds

B1) Goblet Squat – 3×8
B2) Push Up – 3×8

C1) Chin Up – 3×5
C2) Single Leg RDL – 3×8
C3) Rollout

Conditioning – 10 Yard Sled March 8-10x

Day Two
A1) Jump Squat – 3×8
A2) Side Plank – 3×20-30 seconds

B1) Trap Bar Deadlift – 3×5
B2) TRX Row – 3×8

C1) Dumbbell Incline Press – 3×8
C2) Slideboard Lunge – 3×8
C3) Med Ball Slams – 3×10

Conditioning – Bike Sprints (15 seconds on, 45 seconds off) – 8-10x

Day Three
A1) Dumbbell Snatch – 3×5
A2) Anti-Rotation Press – 3×8

B1) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat – 3×6
B2) Dumbbell Bench Press – 3×8

C1) Dumbbell Row – 3×8
C2) Slideboard Leg Curl – 3×8
C3) Straight Leg Sit Up – 3×10

Conditioning – Ropes (15 seconds on, 45 seconds off) 8-10x

There it is, a simple yet effective program to help you reach your New Year’s resolution and overall fitness goals in 2013. I highly recommend you not overthink things and simply pick a movement from each of these categories and get after it. If there are movements/exercises that you don’t particularly care for, don’t do them and pick something else in the same category and move on, its that simple. Beyond being simple and effective, this will allow you to focus on everything you need to focus on from a movement standpoint, but also allows you a degree of freedom to pick and choose which exercises you enjoy which will lead to you looking forward to going to the gym and getting in a good workout.

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump 11/14

Here are a few good reads to get you through another long work week:

No to Squats and Barbell Rowing by Ben Bruno

The more and more I learn the more I tend to think that staying away from bilateral squatting may be a good idea for most athletes. In this article Ben really hits the nail on the head with some of his thoughts when comparing the squat to the barbell row. Really well thought out and put together article.

3 Coaching Cues for Deadlift Technique by Eric Cressey

Some great coaching cues from Eric in this post. Don’t underestimate the power of great coaching cues, they go a long way in making your athletes perform better.

Random Thoughts by Bret Contreras

There is a ton to read through here and a lot of it is really good stuff. Bret is a smart dude so I’m sure you can learn something from reading his stuff.

Strength and Aerobic Training in the Same Session – Does Order Matter? by Patrick Ward

Really interesting read by a really smart guy. All things being considered, I would tend to perform strength training before conditioning most of the time, but reading the thoughts and points of view from a really smart coach is never a bad thing.

Step One and Step Two: How the Strength Coach Makes All Your Dreams Come True by Dan John

As I always say, if Dan John writes it, you should read it. Another good article on how strength just makes athletes better…somehow.