With the release of my new Ultimate Hockey Transformation system, Jeff Angus asked to do a quick interview for his site, which he posted early last week.

Read the interview here >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation: Improve Your Game off the Ice

The interview dives into:

  1. What the Ultimate Hockey Transformation package includes
  2. The real keys to improving speed
  3. Age-specific hockey training
  4. The two major types of overtraining and how to recover from each
  5. The impact nutrition plays on training and on-ice performance
  6. An inside look into two athletes that have come up through my system

Read the interview here >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation: Improve Your Game off the Ice

As a quick update, I’ve now made all of the videos included in the Ultimate Hockey Transformation programs available for download so you can access them instantly, at any time, without needing an internet connection.

Now, in addition to having year-round age-specific training programs that you can use for YEARS, you also have instant access to your own copy of the video library featuring the most effective off-ice exercises out there!

Check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation and take your off-ice training to the next level!

Ultimate Hockey Transformation Pro Package-small

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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Today’s “Throwback Thursday” post covers three powerful strategies to maximize recovery. Interestingly, I wrote another post on this exact topic recently that almost identically mirrors my thought process from 2009. In other words, over 4 years after this post was written, what I view as three of the most powerful recovery strategies has not changed at all! You can check out the more recent post here: 3 Powerful Recovery Strategies for Athletes

You may be surprised by how simple these are. It’s not a matter of cracking some magic code; it’s a matter of taking care of the things you already know are important.

1) Drink PLENTY of water. Maintaining proper hydration has positive implications on both mental and physical performance.Bluntly, it means you’ll be smarter and feel better if you drink enough water.  Plenty is not 6-8 cups a day.  That’s BARELY adequate for completely sedentary people on low caloric diets; you should be drinking AT LEAST double that.If you’re like most people, you’re not even close.It’s never too late to start. Increase your water intake significantly.You’ll likely be making many more trips to the bathroom than you’re used to, but that will cut back within a couple weeks when your body gets used to being fueled properly.

2) Sleep! Everyone’s sleep needs are different, but in general, most people should be getting 7-9 hours of QUALITY sleep.As in wake up in a pool of drool sleep.Wake up with no feeling in your arm because you didn’t move all night sleep.DEEP, QUALITY sleep.If you get 7 and you consistently wake up feeling tired, you need more sleep to recover from the stresses you’re experiencing (through training or other aspects of your life). Remember that this should be consistent from night to night.Your body doesn’t adjust well to 5 days of a lack of rest during the week, and then two days of excessive sleep on the weekend.Make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep every night.

3) Proper Nutrition. This comes in two parts: General Nutrition, and training-specific nutrition.With regards to general nutrition, it’s important that you eat adequate calories from QUALITY sources.This includes as many servings of vegetables as you can tolerate throughout the day, fats from olive oil, nuts, and cold-water fish (e.g. salmon), and carbohydrates from whole grain/high fiber sources.As a reminder, your carbohydrate intake should be determined by your activity level.The more medium-high intensity activity you do, the more carbohydrates you need.Training-specific nutrition is pretty straight forward.Consuming a liquid source of simple carbohydrates and rapidly digesting protein (e.g. whey protein) immediately after your training helps replenish glycogen (read: carbohydrate) stores within the body and stimulate protein synthesis (read: rebuilding).It shouldn’t be hard to see why this would be advantageous.There’s now research to support consuming these “shakes” immediately before and/or during your training, so the nutrients are readily available as your body begins to break down.Think of it as “on the fly” recovery.Personally, I usually make a half shake and sip it while I train, then make another half shake and drink it immediately after.  For the complete nutrition guide, check out John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition program.

Following these three simple (well, at least they’re simple conceptually…maybe not so simple to implement) strategies will help you maximize your rate of recovery, allowing you to get the most out of your training.

Keep training SMART!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“…an extremely rare comprehensive look at the present state of ice hockey training.”
“…a must-have for coaches and strength professionals at all levels of hockey.”

Ultimate Hockey Training

Last week was a busy week as I had a fairly full schedule of manual therapy clients on top of my coaching responsibilities. It’s been a fun couple of weeks as I’ve had a few pro baseball pitchers and a former (and possibly future, depending on whether or not he’s ready to hang up the shoes and grab a whistle full time) pro basketball player come in for assessments and start training.

I’ve been studying up on baseball

While I’m okay with being labeled a “hockey guy”, the reality is that as a coach, if you understand the foundations of human movement and physiology, and the movement patterns, energy system proportions and injury patterns of a sport, you can design a great training program. I may not be able to throw 90 mph (…or even 60), and my little carny hands can barely palm a mini basketball, but neither of those things are any indication of an ability to design and implement programs to help improve performance in baseball and basketball athletes. This is actually a nice segway into today’s first “Stuff You Should Read”

Mini Basketball Net

This, I could handle. (Image from: dazadi.com)

Training Stuff You Should Read

1) Internet Hockey Training Experts from me

This is a throwback from a couple years ago that I think is just as relevant today as ever. Before you sign up to train with someone based solely on the fact that they competed at a high level, read this.

2) Improving Core and Lumbopelvic Control with the Slideboard Hamstring Curl by Matt Siniscalchi

Matt does a great job connecting a common posture that athletes present with to how this posture biases them toward a predictable exercise technique flaw. Despite this sounding a little “technical”, the power in this article is that Matt is approaching the issue from a coach’s perspective on exercise performance. He demonstrates “wrong” and “right” and then provides some things to look for and coaching cues to help you get there. I’ve been so impressed with Matt’s coaching over the last year that I recently wrote him a testimonial for his website, while I was helping him make a few tweaks to it. And because I have his password, I maaaaay have added something else. Check out Matt’s site here: Matt Siniscalchi

3) Functional Movement Screen and Mixed Martial Arts by Patrick Ward

This is a summary of a recently published study evaluating an FMS-based corrective approach in MMA athletes. Patrick does a great job summarizing the article and identifying the power in using the FMS, a system that is still surrounded by misunderstandings.

4) Does Overtraining Exist? by Patrick Ward

In this article, Patrick shares an email exchange he had with someone battling overtraining symptoms. He moves on to describe many of the physiological mechanisms underlying and affected by overtraining. I really liked this piece because it provides clear explanations on the different types of overtraining, and I know Patrick is very well read in this area. This is a topic that has always been important, but especially now as competition schedules in youth sports have gotten completely out of control and people seem to be clinging to nonsensical volume-based workouts with the sole intent of sweating more and working harder. There are times to push and times to back off and knowing when to do which can have a HUGE impact on athletic performance and adaptation.

5) 11-Day NBA Warning: Inside Roy Hibbert’s Offseason Training by Brett Koremenos

This is an article about NBA star Roy Hibbert’s off-season training with Mike Robertson this past Summer. I’ve followed Mike’s work for the last 7-8 years, and have benefited greatly from his products and articles. I spent the better part of my Friday morning reading through the articles he emailed out in his newsletter, which included this one. There are a few things I like about this article: The poetic description of lifting weights, the fact that a star professional athlete is working hard to improve his game despite being at the top, and the focus on creating a large, solid foundation of quality movement and stability before progressing to a larger focus on more traditional training goals (e.g. speed, power, etc.).

6) Can You Guarantee Improved Performance by Mike Robertson

This is another great piece from Mike that outlines the three foundational pillars of developing improved athletic performance. As I mentioned above, Mike does a good job of explaining the importance of developing a solid foundation of certain qualities to improve athletic performance and how each of the three pillars will influence sport performance. I especially liked the discussion on conditioning as it pertains to an improved ability to log quality practice within the sport.

7) Quick Thoughts on Barefoot Training by Charlie Weingroff

Several years ago I thought I had a pretty good understanding of this topic. Get people in shoes that move in multiple planes (e.g. Nike Frees). Try to decipher whether a “flat foot” is a functionally flat foot or a structurally flat foot. Teach people to create an arch with barefoot strength training movements. That seemed pretty straight forward to me. Then the Postural Restoration Institute came along and had a completely different spin on footwear, largely condemning the Nike Frees I had recommended so much in the past. While I don’t like all of the shoes on the PRI approved shoe list for athletic purposes, I also understand why they’re making the recommendations they do and can see the limitations in a lot of other shoes within that frame. Charlie falls into the “he talks, I listen” category for me. In this article, he highlights some of the places he feels people would benefit from training barefoot, some of the places they’d probably be best to have shoes on, and the grayer areas.

Lastly, if you missed the articles I posted last week, you can check them out below. These were among the most “shared” articles of any I’ve ever written as the topics seemed to garner interest from PTs, DCs, Strength Coaches, and yoga instructors alike:

  1. Chest Breathing vs. Belly Breathing
  2. 5 Ways Breathing Affects Sport Performance
  3. Philadelphia Union Fitness Coach Kevin Miller on Optimizing Movement

That’s a wrap for today. If you’ve come across any great articles in the last couple of weeks, please post them in the comments section!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“…one of the best DVDs I’ve ever watched”
“A must for anyone interested in coaching and performance!”

Optimizing Movement DVD Package

Click here for more information >> Optimizing Movement

I hope you’ve had a great week. David and I are heading out to West Chester, PA for the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Course certification over the weekend. I grew up in West Chester, so it’ll be great to stop in to see my parents and spend some time in my old stomping grounds.

Things picked up a bit this week at Hockey Strength and Conditioning. Before I get to that, if you missed my two articles from earlier in the week, you can check them out at the links below:

  1. UCAN Break Carbohydrate Dependence
  2. A New Perspective on Program Design

While these posts approach somewhat different concepts, one of the underlying take homes from both is that we need to be adept at STRATEGICALLY implementing stressors. In this vein, stress doesn’t just refer to those from training or competition (although, these will make up a significant proportion of the total stressors for in-season players), but also dietary, environmental, psychological, and social stressors (amongst others!). Stress is cumulative and needs to be mediated or “overtraining” will result.  Overtraining can just as accurately be described as “under recovery” as it’s possible to drive someone into a state of overtraining without ANY training stressors at all.

Also, I wanted to remind you that today is the last day to pick up your copy of Joe Dowdell and Mike Roussell’s Peak Diet and Program Design Summit Package for $100 off. They’ve added a special bonus from Pat Rigsby (great for those of you that may own your own training business) AND a new payment plan. If you’re interested, check out their program here: Peak Summit Package

Moving on to this week’s content at Hockey Strength and Conditioning…

Mike Potenza kicked things off with a new “Youth Training Program” that emphasized lateral speed training. This exercise series, which Mike demos in the videos, is a great way to teach young players how to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction while maintaining proper body position. In other words, it drives performance through body awareness. For higher level players, under the assumption that they’ve developed these qualities already (not always a safe assumption), these are still great exercises to incorporate into off-season programs or toward the end of a warm-up at any time of year. Great stuff from Mike.

Click here to check out the program >> Youth Program: Lateral Speed Teaching

Darryl Nelson added an exercise video of two variations of a lunge complex, one using a valslide and one without it. I’m not exactly sure how Darryl builds these into the program, but they seem like great options for a warm-up or to build some low-intensity “hip mobility” or “lower body” work into an upper body day or full body lift where you want to back off the legs a bit.

Check out the lunge matrix video here >> Left Middle Right Reverse Lunges

The second part of my article series on developing youth training programs for an entire youth hockey organization just went up. This series gives you an inside look into my philosophy and approach to designing a program for a local youth club. As this is a question I get a lot (typically from a coach at one specific level), I think the article series will have a lot of valuable information in it for those of you that don’t necessarily train people for a living, but are left to your own devices for your hockey club. In my (unbiased) opinion, the strength of this series is that I don’t necessarily suggest that you need to do it EXACTLY how I do, but understanding my philosophy underlying the approach I take will help you apply concepts that seem most relevant to your situation. As I always say, there’s a madness to my method!

Check out the article here >> Youth Hockey Training Blueprint: Part 2

Make sure you check out these threads on the forum too:

  1. Motivation
  2. 1 Leg Cleans?
  3. Athlete Metabolism Issue
  4. Hockey’s Original Recovery Drink

That’s a wrap for today. As always, if you aren’t a member yet, I encourage you to try out Hockey Strength and Conditioning for a week. It’ll only cost $1, and if it’s not the best buck you’ve ever spent, I’ll personally refund you!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Last chance to save $100 on this: Peak Summit Package

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Overtraining is becoming a popular topic in ice hockey, and in youth sports in general, and for good reason. With the overemphasis on year-round sports participation (notably the crazy hockey parents that think it’s a good idea to have their kids ONLY play hockey year-round), we’re starting to see kids suffer symptoms of overtraining.

When I started to look into overtraining, something became clear to me:

There is no difference between OVERtraining and UNDERrecovery.

It’s a game of balancing stress with recovery. Stress, positive or negative, takes a toll on the body. I always joke that I can elicit overtraining symptoms in college students within 24 hours. How? I’ll tell you, but you have to promise not to use this on anyone…Give them three exams, have their significant other break up with them, make a 15 page paper due in two days, and then have their neighbors throw a party, not only in their apartment, but also in all the campus libraries.

Boom! Overtraining symptoms.

And that’s without ANY training! You want to avoid overtraining-focus on recovery. For more information, don’t forget to check out Eric Cressey’s E-book: The Art of The Deload.

Keep training smart.

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