We’re in the final phase of our off-season hockey training program at Endeavor Sports Performance, which means a lot of our players are starting to trickle back to their teams. It also means we’re at the final stage of exercise progressions for physical qualities like power, speed, and conditioning. From a programming standpoint, this is the most fun phase to write. It’s also the most fun phase to coach. A lot of new exercises that encompass multiple training qualities. In today’s post, I want to show you a video of a dynamic rotational power exercise.

Before we get to that, I wanted to let you know that my friend Rick Kaselj is just releasing his new system: Muscle Imbalances Revealed: Upper Body. Rick’s lower body system was a huge hit, and this features a couple new presenters in Tony Gentilcore and Jeff Cubos. I’m about half way through reviewing it (might write a full review if I can find the time in the near future), and it’s an awesome resource. Tony’s presentations alone are worth the price of admission. I could sit down with a beer and watch these on repeat. It’s like listening to Larry David giving a highly educational and well-researched talk on upper body assessments and exercise programming. Jeff Cubos, Dean Somerset, and Rick cover a host of other important topics, including soft-tissue work, advanced core training, linking breathing to performance and rehab, and neck exercises. For those of you that train people for a living, the system comes with CEU’s too. If you’re interested, check out the link below for more information.

Click here >> Muscle Imbalances Revealed

Med Ball Shotput with Rapid Step Behind with Partner Pass
Our rotational power exercises progress in:

  • Symmetry (more sets in non-shooting direction in early off-season)
  • Volume (more sets toward end of off-season)
  • Load (heaviest load in 2nd off-season phase, then back off in 3rd phase to emphasize velocity)
  • Starting position (progress to dynamic movements toward end of off-season)

Within the 2nd and 3rd off-season phases, we’ll incorporate a partner pass. The video below is of a “Med Ball Shotput with Rapid Step Behind with Partner Pass”, an exercise our hockey players perform in the final two weeks of their last off-season program.

Great power and eye movement

Another med ball for the graveyard

I’m all for creativity, but I won’t include an exercise in our athlete’s programs unless it serves a specific purpose. In this case, we’ve added components to the exercise to integrate other important athletic qualities without sacrificing the core goal: rotational power. Adding a dynamic start teaches the athlete to generate maximal rotational power from a non-stationary position, which is traditionally how this quality is needed on the ice. Adding a partner pass teaches the athlete to make quick adjustments based on the accuracy of the pass to maintain power. We also cue our players to rapid turn their eyes to the wall, pick a spot on the wall, and throw the ball THROUGH that spot. Actually, we tell our players that’s what we’re looking for, and then we just say “eyes” as a reminder. We use the same cue during transitional sprint work: “eyes first”. We want to get our players into the habit of maximizing their occulomotor drivers, and, more simplistically, just looking where they’re going/shooting.

I’ve talked a lot about how the most sport-specific training can be anti-sport-specific training, and that you don’t want to revert back to the moronic chaos of exercises like band-resisted slap shots and things of that nature. In this case, I think the demands of this exercise are about as hockey-specific as it gets, at least without throwing in someone to play defense. Maybe the best terminology is to think of training qualities, but not skills. In this case, we’re incorporating qualities like visual adjustment and tracking, dynamic adjustment, and projectile accuracy without sacrificing the core goal of rotational power.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Don’t forget to check this out to see if it’s right for you! Muscle Imbalances Revealed

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We’re wrapping up another great week at Endeavor. On a personal note, I’ve restored my eternal sense of optimism that tends to dwindle when I don’t eat, lift, or sleep as much as I’d like. It might also have something to do with the fact that I’ve watched this video at least once every day this week.

Turns out when you surround yourself with inspirational, unconditionally positive messages, you tend to be more positive! Although, I never thought Fresh Prince would be that source of inspiration. I’m also nearing the final stages (within 7 days) of completing a HUGE project, so stay tuned for announcements on that (you won’t want to miss it)!

There has been some exceptional content additions to Hockey Strength and Conditioning over the last couple weeks. In no particular order:

Video: International Hockey Panel with Igor Larionov
This is another USA Hockey American Development Model video that has leaked into our hands. Igor Larionov has about as impressive of a hockey success record as anyone, so it was great to get his perspective on an assortment of hockey development topics. If you’re a true student of the game, you’ll really enjoy this!

Click here to watch >> International Hockey Panel with Igor Larionov

Program: Beginner Phase 2 Off-Season Training Program from Darryl Nelson
Darryl Nelson added Phase 2 of his beginner off-season hockey training program. I recently read an article on this year’s NHL combine (someone posted this in a HockeySC.com forum thread) commending two players from Darryl’s USA NTDP on their performance in the off-ice tests. It’s great to see Darryl’s work being rewarded (indirectly). For the millions of hockey players out there aimlessly following unguided programs that lack organization and progressions (or any semblance of an intelligent thought in general), you’d be much better off just downloading Darryl’s program and following that.

Click here to get the program >> Beginner Phase 2 Off-Season Training Program

Video: Bar Complex from Sean Skahan
Sean added a video of a bar complex that he uses late in the off-season. This is typically the time of year where the off-ice training focus changes from hypertrophy or strength development to more of a work capacity orientation. This is in conjunction with an increase in on-ice work. Barbell complexes are certainly a means of developing this quality, assuming the athletes know how to perform all the involved exercises with perfect technique. This is especially important as fatigue tends to negatively affect exercise execution in general, Mediocre form in the beginning will quickly turn to garbage form. Whether you use the exact exercises Sean does in your barbell circuits or not, exercise proficiency should be foundational.

Click here to watch >> Bar Complex

Article: Hockey Strength and Conditioning Roundtable: Facility Design Edition

Last, and most awesomely, Mike Potenza, Darryl, Sean and I posted a roundtable discussion on facility design. The roundtable is a new feature we’re adding to Hockey Strength and Conditioning, and because well all have different backgrounds and work in relatively different settings, the diverse perspective should be insightful for our readers. Facility design was a great topic to kick off the roundtables because it will ultimately drive the design of your programs and provide guidelines (for better or worse) on what you’re able to do with your players. Facility design will determine maximum athlete volume, exercise selection, how to pair exercises, and the overall flow of the program. If you’re a hockey training professional this is a must-read. We’ve made a lot of mistakes at Endeavor that you can avoid my checking out the article.

Click here to read >> Hockey Strength and Conditioning Roundtable: Facility Design Edition

After you’re done reading the articles and watching the videos, hop on the forums and check out the two posts on the NHL Combine and the BU Psychology Professor and post your comments about those.

If you aren’t a member yet, fork out the $1 to test drive Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. If it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!


To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

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A few great additions to the site this week:

Anaheim Ducks Strength and Conditioning Coach Sean Skahan wrote an article called Reap the Benefits of Proper Stretching. If you’ve stayed current with the scientific research behind stretching, you know that it’s been a controversial topic for the last decade or so. As with any debate, there are people on both extremes. Some say you must stretch; others say it’s a complete waste of time (this comes as a surprise to most people in the hockey world). Much of the discrepancy lies in what people are thinking of when they hear “stretching” and when various stretching strategies are used. Sean does a great job of describing different kinds of stretching and if/when they’re appropriate to use.

Check it out >> Reap the Benefits of Proper Stretching

Darryl Nelson, the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the U.S. National Team Development Program, posted an off-season hockey training program. With the off-season rapidly approaching for most youth programs, I thought this was a timely addition. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there is a ton of value to be gained from seeing how other coaches design programs. In most cases, it’s not appropriate to take the program and use it “as is”, but you can pull ideas about exercise selection, order, and pairing, and other program design strategies from seeing how successful experienced coaches design theirs.

Hockey Training Program Here >> Off-Season Strength Training Program

My friend Maria Mountain has been a welcomed member to the Hockey Strength and Conditioning community. This week she posted an article entitled Top 5 Take Homes from my Weekend with Dr. Stuart McGill that I think anyone working with hockey players should take a few minutes to read. In the article, Maria describes several big-picture messages she gathered from Stuart McGill, one of the world’s leading researchers on low back injuries. As these are injuries that effect an overwhelming majority of both the hockey and general populations, it’s imperative that we do everything we can do understand how to avoid them. Maria’s article will get you started on that path.

Check it out >> Top 5 Take Homes from my Weekend with Dr. Stuart McGill

If you aren’t a member, go check out what you’ve been missing by clicking the link below. If you are a member, go check out all the content I mentioned above and hop on the forums to comment on the threads!

Click Here for the best in Hockey Strength and Conditioning

To your continued success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Remember, it’s only $1 to try HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com for the first week. You will never find more hockey training content anywhere for $1, and it’s only getting better. I’ll throw in a bonus offer-Register for $1 so you can check out all the content, and I’ll buy you a coffee (or protein shake?) the next time I see you. Can’t beat that!

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!