Brijesh Patel, my friend and colleague from Quinnipiac University, spoke at the Boston Hockey Summit about training program design for ice hockey players. During his talk he went through several yoga-based isometric circuits that can be incorporated into off-ice training warm-ups. Everyone, including myself, that I’ve seen do these circuits has the same reaction: They feel loose AND strong. The circuits are well-designed to improve range of motion around the hips and thoracic spine (spine around your upper back…this is a good thing), and activate the hip abductors/external rotators and muscles around the posterior shoulder (muscles on the outside of the hip that don’t get the training attention they deserve).

I started using two of these circuits with all of my athletes. In both of these circuits, each position is held for 10 seconds.

3-Way Squat Circuit
1) Deep squat while pushing your knees out with your elbows to stretch out the muscles on the inside of your thigh
2) Maintain the deep squat, but move your hands behind your head, interlock your fingers, and pull your elbows back together. It’s important to keep your back flat (don’t let it round forward) and actively pull your knees outward using the muscles on the outside of your hip.
3) Maintain the deep squat while extending your arms straight overhead and continuing to pull your knees out.

3-Way Split Squat Circuit
1) Split squat position with arms extended straight overhead. Focus on squeezing your butt on the back leg and pulling down into the floor through the ball of your foot on the front leg.
2) Maintain the position while performing a triceps stretch on the arm on the side of your back leg and leaning toward the side of your front leg.
3) Maintain the position while twisting toward the front leg and reaching back with the arm on the side of your front leg and following this hand with your eyes.

As I type these descriptions, I’m realizing how simple these are when you see them, but how confusing it is to try to explain it. If you’re simple-minded like I am and have no idea what any of those descriptions mean, your best bet is to head over to and watch the videos that Brijesh put together for them. I’m confident you’ll be able to wrap your mind around them as soon as you see them.

When you get to, look for Brijesh Patel’s Deep Squat Series, and Warrior 1 Series.

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