Training single-leg strength in a variety of patterns is one of the keys to having strength improvements transfer to the dynamic environment of sport.

This video is of a 1-Arm DB 1-Leg Lateral Slideboard Lunge, a supplementary exercise that serves two primary purposes:

1️⃣ Develop single leg strength, with control against competing lateral forces
2️⃣ Develop eccentric strength of the adductors in a lengthened position

These qualities are important for most team sports, but have particularly value in hockey in both developing strength in sport-relevant patterns, and improving durability by minimizing injury risk to the adductors resulting insufficient stiffness or end-range strength.

Holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand helps drive a weight shift and a slight rotation of the torso over the stance leg, both of which help load the hip.

A few key coaching points:

✅ Set-up with the majority of the weight on the outside leg (think 80/20).
✅ The outside leg should be actively pushing down into the ground through the entire range of motion.
✅ As the hips drop, the dumbbell should move toward the outside leg.
✅ Keep downward pressure into the board with the straight leg throughout the rep to maintain active tension through the adductors.

Typically performed for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps OR 6-8 reps with a 3-5s eccentric.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. For more information on in- and off-season program design, training and reconditioning for injured players, and integrating sports science into a comprehensive training process, check out Optimizing Adaptation & Performance

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Last week was an exciting week for Emily and I as we bought our first home. We’ve bounced around from Baltimore to center city Philadelphia to Collingswood, NJ over the last 6 years, and finally decided to “settle down” and get a place in Cherry Hill. As always, the Endeavor Crew and my friend Shane made the move a breeze (it’s amazing what kind of work you get out of those guys for a few Chipotle burritos!).

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It’s been an exciting, event-filled year to say the least!

A few months ago, I wrote an article outlining exactly how you could use specific training methods on a skating treadmill to elicit different adaptations.

If you missed that, you can check it out here: Skating Treadmill Program

The important take home from that article is that you can use one exercise (or tool) in a variety of ways that all cause the athlete to improve in very different ways. This is really true of any exercise and is one of the reasons why answering questions like “Is squatting good?” or “what’s the best exercise for…” so difficult. Everything always depends on who the athlete is, what he/she needs, how the exercise is performed (movement quality, load, speed, sets, reps, rest, etc.).

Many of our players are in a phase of their off-season program where the focus is on improving alactic power, or their ability to move explosively for short periods of time.

One method we’ll use is short duration slideboarding where the goal is to get as many reps as possible in the allotted time. The intent is to minimize glide time (you aren’t producing power while you glide) and “explode” from board to board as quickly as possible. The players then rest the remainder of the minute (e.g. 8s of work, 52s of rest) before going again. We’ll typically do this in two blocks of 6-10 reps, with 3-5 minutes between blocks.

The video below is of Rob Hennessey, who is headed to Providence as a freshman next year, demonstrating this method.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingMovement.com
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

P.S. If you want to take the guess work out of your off-season training and start using a program proven to deliver results, be sure to check this out >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation

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Slideboards have become an integral piece of equipment in our training programs at Endeavor. I’m sure I could design programs without them, but I’m glad that I don’t have to. For those of you that have read Ultimate Hockey Training, you’ll notice that we use slideboard for a lot more than simply slideboarding. Slideboards work their way into a lot of our exercise progressions and can be used for things like posterior chain, medial hip, upper body pressing, and core work.


Over the last week I’ve gotten a few emails asking about what lengths we use and if it’s necessary to get an adjustable board, so I thought I’d address that question today. At Endeavor we have 10′ UltraSlide Slideboards, which we bought (like all of our equipment) from Perform Better.

If you’re using the slideboard for all the auxiliary exercises like lateral slideboard squat, slideboard body saws, slideboard hamstring curls, etc., it really doesn’t matter what size board you have. All that matters is that it slides. You can also do these exercises on turf or carpet with Val Slides or furniture movers. If however, you want to slideboard on them, then the 10′ adjustable boards can make a huge difference in the way you’re able to program slideboard work.

Slideboarding
Hip-Resisted Slideboarding
Slideboard Hamstring Curl Variation
Band-Resisted Lateral Slideboard Lunge
Slideboard DB Reverse Lunge
Slideboard Push-Up w/ 1-Arm Reach
Slideboard Fly
Slideboard Army Crawl

The UltraSlide adjusts to 6.5-9.5′ in 1′ increments. For the overwhelming majority of our athletes in most conditioning protocols, we’ll use the 7.5′ setting. However, we also frequently utilize the 6.5′ and 8.5′ settings frequently. The shorter setting is beneficial for younger, weaker, or less experienced athletes that simply don’t have the gusto to make it across the board with authority on each push. For our athletes that are above ~6’2″, we slide it out to the 8.5′ setting to accommodate their longer stride length. If I had to ballpark the equivalent for the shorter setting, I’d say it’s for athletes around 5’6″ or shorter, but this is really dependent upon their strength and familiarity with the motion. Those distances for athletes at those heights tends to normalize stride frequency within a reasonable margin.

 

Last Summer we started putting an emphasis on either keeping a steady pace or on maximizing the reps per set. Keeping a steady, intentionally slower pace within the intervals we programmed allowed us to do a few things:

  1. Spend some time cuing the movements and reinforcing proper posture
  2. Develop the aerobic system in a sport-specific pattern
  3. Develop local muscular endurance while minimizing more global fatigue

Even more recently, we’ve started programming slideboard work with the intent of maximizing alactic power. Within this paradigm, the goal is essentially to work as hard as possible within a ~6s time frame and then recover completely. This idea can be modified slightly to train alactic capacity by not allowing complete recovery between bouts, but in both cases the goal is to work as hard as possible within the work intervals. This “work as hard as possible” descriptor is slightly different than “get as many touches as possible”, and highlights another reason why I really like having adjustable slideboards. Because the focus of these intervals is to push the rate at which energy can be produced, it’s essential that the athletes are actually doing WORK during the interval. With longer board settings, the glide phase of the movement is accentuated so the amount of work in any given time frame will be less compared to that same athlete on a shorter board. When we’re using slideboards with these training goals in mind, we’ll typically shift it one setting shorter than where we’d typically have an athlete go based on the height ranges above.

In short, I think it’s important to have adjustable slideboards, as it allows you to program more specifically to the individual in a group setting or to a growing individual (e.g. all youth hockey players). UltraSlide Slideboards aren’t cheap, running in the realm of $400-$600. I think people get too caught up in the ticket price and overlook the value. Aside from the fact that hockey parents are notorious for buying their kids new $300-$600 skates every year when their kid’s feet grow, and new $200 one-piece sticks (which are unnecessary and potentially counter productive for youth players…a rant for another day), it seems inconsistent to scoff at a $500 slideboard that, in one form or another, could get regular use year-round for a player’s entire career. When we’re making equipment purchasing decisions, I always try to keep the life of the implement in mind. For example, a $50 medicine ball that we’re going to break after 2 months is an expense of $25/month, an investment we make regularly because we value this type of training.

Med Ball Graveyward

Med Ball Graveyard

A $500 slideboard that we’re going to use daily for 20 years is ~$2/month. Viewed in this light, it’s actually a better value, and given the diversity of uses, a much better investment. If you have any slideboard-related questions, please feel free to post them below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
UltimateHockeyTraining.com

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What a week! This week we kicked off our off-season training for some of the Team Comcast youth hockey organization at our mini-facility in their rink in Pennsauken and we had several more players trickle back in to Endeavor to start preparing for next year. On top of that, yesterday I threw the gear on for the first time in too long and skated with David Lasnier a few of the junior players that we train. It felt good to get back out there!

It’s been a while since my last Hockey Strength and Conditioning Update, so hopefully you’ve been keeping up with everything. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve added an article series and several other articles pertaining to off-ice hockey training and hockey nutrition. If you missed them, check out them out at the links below:

  1. Youth Hockey Training Blueprint: Part 1
  2. Youth Hockey Training Blueprint: Part 2
  3. Youth Hockey Training Blueprint: Part 3
  4. Unconventional Approaches to First Step Quickness
  5. A 4-Step Plan for Off-Season Weight Gain
  6. Hockey Nutrition: Grocery Shopping

In the future, I plan on writing more on hockey-specific skills and what structural or functional limitations may prevent a player (or goalie) from expressing/fulfilling their full potential. If you have any areas you’d like me to cover specifically, please let me know in the comments section below.

Hockey Strength and Conditioning has been busy over the last few weeks as well. Check out what you’ve been missing:

Programs

  1. 2011-2012 Core/Hip Program: Phase 1 from Sean Skahan
  2. 4-Day Off-Season Program from Darryl Nelson
  3. Slideboard Training Ideas from Mike Potenza

Great stuff all around from these guys. I was interested to see that Potenza programs his slideboard intervals by touches instead of time, and alters the board length to achieve a different training effect, two things that I haven’t done much of at Endeavor. It’s always good to get a fresh perspective on things.

Videos

  1. 8-Second Stiffness Jumps from Mike Potenza
  2. Seated T-Spine Extension from Sean Skahan

Mike’s video is a great follow-up to an article on the benefits of stiffness that his assistant Eric wrote for the site a couple weeks ago. Sean provides a great t-spine mobility exercises, which is a restriction we see in the majority of our players.

Articles

  1. Should We Strengthen Our Toe Flexors from Sean Skahan
  2. Sport-Specific Leg Press from Darryl Nelson and Carrie Keil

Sean does a great job of explaining his rationale for training a largely overlooked muscle group. Although it’s been for different reasons, I’ve been asking similar questions as I’ve noticed that some of our players tend to lose big toe contact/pressure with certain movements. Quick Side Note: We have our players do a number of lifts without shoes on, and this is one of the reasons why. It allows us to get a better idea of how they load through their ankles and feet and how their ground-based compensations may be feeding other things we see higher up in the chain. Darryl and Carrie explain how and why they use a piece of equipment for “on-ice resistance training”. I’ve been aware of this piece for a while, but haven’t used it because of the setting I’m in. After watching the videos I’m extremely interested.

Podcast

  1. Hockey Strength Podcast with Sean Skahan

The podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorite features of the Hockey Strength and Conditioning community. If you haven’t been listening to these, definitely check them out!

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

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