Off-Season Hockey Strength Program: Phase 5

We’re four games into the hockey season with the U17 team, so it’s about time I wrapped up this series showcasing our summer strength program.

In Phase 5 of the off-season program, the goal was to strength peak the guys with low-volume, low-rep training in the gym – which meant picking only a handful of exercises each session and doing most of the work on main exercises in the 1-3 rep range.

In addition, we shifted our focus more towards prepping the players for the upcoming season via on-ice conditioning.

Even if I say so myself, I believe we made some great strides in terms of strength development both individually and as a team over the past four months as the two videos below demonstrate…


Here’s the training program for off-season Phase 5…

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16 Tips for Stronger Muscles, Joints, Mind & Body

Why exactly 16?

I don’t know. But it has a nice ring to it. And nobody could hit top shelf dropping the knee on a one-timer better than #16 Brett Hull.

Let’s roll…

1. Stop Overanalyzing

“My upper pecs are lagging so should I incline bench at a 28.35 or 33.12 degree angle to target and get them to grow better?”

“I’ve been eating a gram per pound of bodyweight of protein a day but the newest study referenced in XYZ magazine said anything below 1.2758 grams will not maximize muscle growth for a 5’9″ ectomorph natural lifter. What should I do?”

“I want to start 5/3/1 but how can I also include eccentric quasi-isometric fat bar reverse lunges supersetted with seated submaximal dynamic effort Smith machine behind-the-neck-presses in the program?”


Just fucking stop.

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How to Go From Zero to 15 Pistol Squats in 90 Days

Originally written for Bodyweight Training Arena

Getting my hands on Convict Conditioning led to my first foray into advanced bodyweight training back in the spring of 2012.

At the time, I was feeling beat up from all the heavy barbell training I’d put my body through over the previous couple of years, and welcomed the idea of using nothing but the resistance of my own body when training on a chin-up bar and a pair of gymnastic rings at a local park over the entire summer.

Flipping through Convict Conditioning, I came across the one-leg squat a.k.a. pistol squat that the author dubbed “the ultimate lower body exercise”.

Being a huge fan of loaded barbell and dumbbell lower body exercises, and having barbell squatted double bodyweight just a few months prior, I couldn’t fathom how this innocuous-looking, unloaded movement could ever provide enough challenge for anyone but the weak and deconditioned.

pistol squat_nature2

As I soon found out, it most definitely could.

The first time I tried to do a pistol squat, I got duly embarrassed.

I was flailing and falling over from the get-go, never even able to break parallel, let alone sink all the way down into a full 1-leg squat.

After the third try I was frustrated with myself, and on the brink of giving up:

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Off-Season Hockey Strength Program: Phase 4

My newest article on warming up to heavy weights was published on STACK the other day.

If ya haven’t already, check it out here:

A Better Way to Warm Up With Heavy Weights

With that out of the way, let’s talk training for hockey.


Our U20 team had their first regular season games this weekend and the U17 will follow suit starting next Friday.

Off the ice, that means we’re switching from off-season mode to in-season mode. I’ll be writing more about in-season training as the hockey season progresses, so you can implement some of the tips and tactics we use in your own workouts during the season.

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6 Advanced Ring Push-Up Variations for Building Serious Upper Body Strength

Originally written for Bodyweight Training Arena

Push-ups are one of the best upper body strength exercises known to man.

The problem, however, is that people don’t know how to make them progressively more challenging over time.

Ring Modified Planche Push-Up_2

A smart training program will get you relatively proficient at basic push-ups on the floor quite quickly, and once someone is capable of performing 30+ reps in a row, they tend to start favoring other movements like the bench press as their primary upper body horizontal pushing exercise for lower rep strength work.

Then again, some trainees set their sights on hitting a round number like 50 or 100 push-ups as a short-term goal but even then, the focus is on improving muscular endurance via higher reps as opposed to working and making gains in the traditional strength and hypertrophy rep ranges (5-12 reps or so per set).

Thus, push-ups are often labeled a “beginner exercise”, and drastically overlooked as a strength building exercise by many gym-goers.

So how does one go about making push-ups challenging for even the more advanced trainee?

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How to Make Your Training More Productive

I’ve been living a comfy, protected, downright spoiled existence when it comes to training atmosphere for the past few years.

For close to two years, I trained at a “hardcore” powerlifting gym, where AC/DC, Metallica and Iron Maiden frequented the playlist booming through the loudspeakers.

Franco deadlift

Every once in a while I’d switch gears, training with my trusted gymnastic rings outside in a park for several weeks or months at a time with nothing but my own thoughts accompanying my movements under the radiant summer sun.

And of course, when I interned at Endeavor Sports Performance, sleds, heavy dumbbells, med balls, and nearly every other training implement worth a damn were all available to get a lift in between training athletes/clients.

These days I’ve found a small gym within walking distance from home. What makes it a great fit for me is that hardly anyone is using equipment in or near the power rack, where most of my training takes place, when I visit the gym early in the morning.

So when I returned to the big box gym setting training our youth hockey players while the county gym we regularly use was closed over the summer, I was in for a rude awakening.

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In-Season Training Tips for Hockey Players

With a new hockey season just around the corner, practicing and playing the game becomes top priority. But many hockey players make the crucial mistake of putting strength training on the back burner during the competitive season.

The result?

Slower, weaker athletes who are more prone to injury.

Fortunately, my latest article over on STACK explains what to do off the ice to improve on-ice performance, so that you’ll play your best hockey late into the spring. Read it here:

5 In-Season Hockey Training Tips for Improved On-Ice Performance

Want a PROVEN TRAINING PLAN for applying these tips?

You’re in luck – check this out…

How to Dominate the Competition This Hockey Season

Experience the fastest strength gains of your career
and take your game to the next level.

Click Here to Access Your Training Program


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