A Powerful New Exercise

Today I have another guest post from my friend Devan McConnell, Director or Sports Performance at UMass Lowell. In this article, he shares a new exercise he’s using in the off-season with his hockey players. Enjoy!

Introducing the Cable SLDL Hold w/ Overhead Cable Pulldown by Devan McConnell


The Cable SLDL Hold with “Overhead” Cable Pulldown is a great early off-season (what we would call the “Reconditioning” Phase) exercise. I like to utilize isometric exercises during this period of time for several reasons:

  1. It targets a contraction type that we don’t use much throughout the season
  2. It promotes postural corrections after a long hockey season
  3. It’s easy to refine exercise technique
  4. It adds some variety to the training process

The addition of the pulldown (I classify this as a “Vertical Pull” even though it’s actually horizontal to the ground; it is a movement overhead which is vertical relative to the body) adds some important pulling volume, which I believe, is very important when it comes to keeping the shoulder healthy. I try to have at least twice the amount of upper body pulling to pressing exercises in our program for that reason.

The cable is effectively pulling the body forward, which in turn forces the athlete to shift his/her weight backwards and onto their heel, which is an important technique point in the traditional SLDL exercise. At the same time, the hamstring of the down leg is isometrically contracting to hold the body in place, and the cable weight being in the opposite hand of the stance leg creates a contralateral rotational force, which requires an anti-rotational force to counteract being pulled out of position.

All in all, there are a lot of great things happening in this exercise, not the least of which is a change of pace while still maintaining the integrity of an important movement pattern that we train year round.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
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