Kevin Neeld — Hockey Training, Sports Performance, & Sports Science

Hockey Training with a Knee Injury

A couple days ago I wrote about the training program I used for a hockey player that had recently undergone knee surgery. You can read that here: Training Hockey Players with Knee Injuries.

That post included a sample upper body training session that he used. After the first couple weeks, the general inflammation from the surgery was gone, and so was the pain and any hesitation about hurting his knee. Of course, the absence of pain doesn’t mean that his knee had completely healed, so it was important not to push his operative leg so far.

Phase 2 (Weeks 3-4): Upper Body/Non-operative Leg
Program Goals:

  • Improve upper body strength and power
  • Improve core strength and power
  • Improve strength/coordination of the non-operative leg/hip
  • Minimize compression on operative knee
  • Make him work hard so he still “feels” like an athlete
  • Use exercises that won’t piss off PT or surgeon

He again came in 2x/week for the next two weeks before taking a week break to visit Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep. One of his training sessions looked like this:

A1) Chin-Up: 5 x 6
A2) 1-Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift (non-operative leg only): 4 x 8
A3) Standing Belly Press Iso-Hold: 3 x 20s/side
B1) Weighted BOSU Push-Up: 3 x 10
B2) Standing Tight Rotations: 3 x 20s
B3) 1-Leg Squat (On box so operative leg can stay extended; non-operative leg only): 3 x 8
B4) Stability Ball Front Plank w/ Small Circles: 3 x 20s
B5) Rice Digs: 3 x 60s

The major difference between Phase 2 and Phase 1 is the addition of two lower body exercises (1-Leg Stiff-Legged Deadlift and 1-Leg Squat). Both of these exercises were performed only on the non-operative leg. As I’ve written in the past, strength improvements on one-leg are, at least in part, transferred to the other side. This is one of the brilliant adaptations of the nervous system.

I had him go slow on the way down in each of these exercises since more strength is transferred during contractions of longer “negative” or “eccentric” phases.

Stay tuned for Phase 3 of this progression, when we start to re-integrate our injured hockey player back to normal full-body training sessions.

-Kevin Neeld

P.S. I’m less than two weeks away from the official launch of my new hockey training membership site. You won’t want to miss the incredible bonuses that go to the action takers that sign up right away! Keep checking back for more information on the launch.

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Kevin Neeld

Kevin Neeld Knows Hockey

Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.