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

Training Hockey Players with Knee Injuries

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was doing some work with a young hockey player that had recently undergone a meniscal repair surgery. You can read that article here: Doctors vs. Strength Coaches: A Difference in Perspective

After speaking with his surgeon and physical therapists, I put together a program for him.

Phase 1 (Weeks 1-2): Upper Body Only
Program Goals:

  • Improve upper body strength and power
  • Improve core strength and power
  • 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 came in 2x/week for these weeks. With the above goals in mind, one of his training sessions may have looked like:

A1) DB Chest Press: 5 x 6
A2) Front Plank/Side Plank/Side Plank: 3 x 30s/each
A3) Scap Wall Slides: 3 x 10
B1) Chin-Up: 5 x 6
B2) Standing Tight Rotations: 3 x 20s
C1) DB Curls: 4 x 8
C2) DB Skull Crushers: 4 x 8

I realize how basic this program is, and that some of you may be surprised based on some of the things I’ve written about and programs I’ve posted in the past. The idea isn’t to overwhelm him with variation. The goal is to improve his upper body strength as much as possible without irritating his recently operated-on knee.

I steared clear of many of my favorite exercises (e.g. low pulley row, standing 1-arm db row, overhead mb floor slam…to name a few) to be extra cautious that he didn’t do ANYTHING that would bother his knee.

In the next couple days, I’ll write how we transitioned into “Phase 2” to get him working a little harder and strengthening his non-operative leg.

-Kevin Neeld

P.S. If you’re a hockey player or coach, check out my hockey training site for some great information on how to become a fast, strong, well-conditioned player.

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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.