1-Leg Hang Clean?

“The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.” – Grace Hopper

Hockey, more specifically the skating stride, is essentially a single leg sport/movement. As a result, we tend to think 1-leg plyo’s are important/beneficial. We tend to think 1-leg strength exercises are important/beneficial. So why wouldn’t we think that 1-leg Olympic lifts are important/beneficial?

Yes, we do appear to not get as much triple extension when compared to traditional 2-leg hang cleans, but is the point of Olympic lifting to create full hip extension or to create the power to move a load at a high rate of speed? Though both are important, I’d argue it’s more important to create the power to move a load at a high rate of speed.

Additionally, I’d argue that there are also many added benefits to the 1-leg clean that you don’t get with a traditional 2-leg clean, like;

✅ Uni-lateral power production
✅ Uni-lateral lower body force absorption when landing in one leg
✅ Uni-lateral core force absorption when landing on one leg
✅ Potential increase in the rate of force production

Don’t be afraid to think differently. Following the herd often just leads to the slaughter house.

Iron Game Chalk Talk with Robert Dos Remedios

Wanted to share another good listen from a series of great interviews by Cincinnati Bengals strength coach Ron McKeefery’s Iron Game Chalk Talk. This time Coach McKeefery sits down with Robert Dos Remedios, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA. As usual, it is a great listen and I’m sure all strength coaches could learn something new from the interview. Enjoy!

8 Ways to Improve Your Training

Here are 8 easy ways to improve your current training program:

Warm-up Thoroughly

Everyone overlooks warming up. It can be boring, tedious, and quite honestly it’s the easiest thing to skip when in a pinch. This isn’t a great idea though. Try to foam roll, stretch, and go through some type of dynamic warm up before every lifting session. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel and how much better you move by just spending 10-15 minutes warming up before you train.

Add Carries to Your Training

I admit I am late to the party when it comes to carries. For the longest time I thought they were really overrated but carries can do a lot for core development – and your traps will be screaming at you the next day! Carries like a suitcase carry is basically a walking side plank while something like a goblet carry is a walking front plank. There are a decent amount of carries you can add…try some, you’ll be surprised how effective they are. This last fall I added some type of carry to some teams at New Hampshire and was pleased with the results.

loaded carries

Give Single Leg Training a Legit Shot

I hate to admit this too, but I was late on the single leg training bandwagon as well (and I worked for Coach Boyle at MBSC!). After a couple years of consistent single leg training, I’m hooked. When it comes to lower body training, I typically start with a bilateral exercise (front squat, goblet squat) and then all of my assistance work is single leg. However, lately I have been sticking to just single leg movements and I’m loving it. Single leg squats, rear foot elevated split squats, slide board lunges and leg curls, single leg RDL and others are not staples in my program. Plus, sometimes its nice to get a great training session without putting a ton of weight on your back or in your hands. And for most athletes, if you train the single leg exercises heavy like the video below, I don’t know if you have to still perform bilateral lower body movements. Doesn’t mean you can’t, just that you don’t have to.

Add Some Explosive Training

Whether it is some hang cleans, hang snatches, dumbbell snatches, kettlebell swings, or even jump squats, add some explosive training to your program. Most people think that losing strength is the biggest concern when it comes to aging, but losing power is actually a bigger issue. Stay ahead of the game and keep training to maintain or increase power.

push up

Use Push-ups as Your Major Pressing Exercise

Shoulder issues are pretty common these days yet people continue to bench. Talk about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Try doing some push-ups for your main pressing movement – with a little creativity you can do a lot to make the push up as challenging as a heavy set of benching. Add some chains or weight vests, do eccentric reps, drop sets, max rep sets, the options are endless. Plus, your shoulders will feel better because of it. If you train overhead athletes (baseball, volleyball, swimming) I don’t think benching is necessarily wrong (pitchers probably want to skip benching altogether in my opinion) but I also don’t think you need to bench, making push-ups a great alternative.

Push and Pull Sleds Consistently

There is something about pushing or pulling a heavy ass sled after a training session or on an off day that screams ‘badass’ – and makes your scream for your mom. Get out of your comfort zone and reap the benefits from a conditioning standpoint as well as a mental toughness standpoint.

pushing sleds

Listen to Your Body

Some days and weeks you’re just plain tired. Listen to your body and step off the accelerator a little bit. Using some lighter weights and skipping a tough conditioning session may be better for you in the long haul then beating yourself into the ground. I wouldn’t recommend skipping a session altogether though as something is still better than nothing. Get in, move a little bit, and get out, but listen to your body, it knows better than you!

get up

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New

Don’t be scared of change. If you aren’t seeing the results you are looking for, change something. Try a completely different program. Try exercises that you haven’t been doing for quite some time. Maybe you need to start eating a little better? Who knows, but make some changes, it’ll make a difference. Recently the importance of rolling exercise has been all over the place, so I am performing get-ups every single day for the next 10-12 weeks and see what types of changing I see.

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.

Ladders

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!

Tommy Moffitt on Iron Game Chalk Talk

Ron McKeefery did it again with another great strength coach on Iron Game Chalk Talk. This time he has LSU Director of Strength and Conditioning and one of the best strength coaches in the country, Tommy Moffitt. Always good to hear other coaches opinions and some of the things that they are doing with their athletes. Enjoy!