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

Fundamental Lower Body Movement Patterns

In this week’s “Thursday Throwback”, I wanted to share another article from 2009 that highlights the progressive differences in fundamental lower body movement patterns and how force production from the involved musculature shifts as body angles change. This idea has been described using different terminology over the last several years, including Mike Boyle’s classification as exercises being more “knee-dominant” or “hip-dominant” or what I describe in Ultimate Hockey Training, simply, as lower body pushing or pulling patterns. Terminology aside, it’s important to recognize how subtle changes in body angle changed the emphasized musculature so that you can choose exercises based on the specific result you want. If you have any comments/questions, please post them below. Enjoy!

Fundamental Lower Body Movement Patterns

This Summer I started working with a ton of new athletes at Endeavor Sports Performance.  These athletes had been training, but not with me.

Part of building a solid training base is learning the three fundamental lower body movement patterns:

Stiff-Legged Deadlift
The stiff-legged deadlift (SLDL) is largely a hip-dominant movement.  You’ll maintain a slight knee bend, but the entire movement involves tilting the pelvis forward, then using your glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back upright.  The emphasis is almost entirely on the glutes and hamstrings.

The deadlift pattern is similar to the stiff-legged version in that it involves tilting the pelvis forward as far as possible, but is different from the SLDL in that it involves a deeper bend of the knees.  A bend of the knees means more force production from the quadriceps.

You’re probably picking up on the trend here.  The squat pattern uses slightly less forward tilting of the hips and slightly more knee bend, which involves more force production from the quads relative to the SLDL and deadlift patterns.

These differences in loading emphasis are pretty clearly illustrated by noting the maximal forward hip/torso angle in the “down” position of these exercises.  During the SLDL, the torso is almost parallel to the ground.  During the deadlift, the torso is slightly above parallel.  During the squat, the torso is slightly more vertical than the deadlift.  And during a front squat pattern, the torso is almost completely vertical.

It generally takes less than a month for the majority of my athletes to master these movements.  Then it’s time to “load the hell out of them” and get them strong!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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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.