Off-Season Hockey Strength Program: Phase 1

Note: I wrote this article back in 2015.

While I still use many of the same methods and principles explained below with my hockey players, the workout plan feels outdated to me.

I'm always tweaking and testing my strength program to give better results to athletes. That's why workouts from a few years back won't be as effective as what I'm doing today.

Access my latest, updated off-ice training programs here:

During the final week of my internship under Kevin Neeld at Endeavor Sports Performance last year, I was given the assignment of writing a 12-week off-season training program for an imaginary teenage hockey player and one for a pro level hockey player.

After putting pen on paper, Kevin proceeded to roast question me for an hour in his office about why I chose specific exercises, sets/reps/rest periods, tempos and everything else involved in designing a comprehensive strength training plan.

stamkos squat

Having to defend my view points to a much more knowledgeable and experienced strength coach was definitely a great learning experience and increased my confidence in being able to rationalize my training philosophy and methods to just about anyone.

I’ve had a few people, both online and in person, ask me about off-season hockey training – so I thought I’d use this article to give those of you interested a glimpse into how we train.

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4 Reasons Why High Frequency Training Leads to Faster Strength Gains

My own training has been going really well as of late, which can be evidenced by numerous PR’s I’ve hit over the past few months.

I believe a big reason behind this is increased training frequency coupled with performing only a handful of key lifts while training with submaximal weights, something that I rarely see mentioned in fitness magazines where the typical recommendation revolves around increasing exercise selection and workout volume within a single session.

Li Hong Li

Trains with high frequency – is ridiculously strong

I’ve always believed the standard way of splitting the body in smaller muscle groups, then training each body part once per week is about the worst thing you can do as a natural person with average genetics when trying to improve strength and athleticism.

However, for the longest time I bought into the notion that you could only train “heavy” three times per week for fear of overtraining.

While I still think 3 full-body or upper/lower training sessions per week works well for quite a while for just about anyone looking to experience marked strength and size increases, at some point you need to try something different to blast through plateaus.

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10 Great Classic Rock Songs to Train to

Most public gyms I’ve ever visited resemble Studio 54 more than a weight room when it comes to the music they’ve got blasting through the loudspeakers.

It has been scientifically proven that listening to Usher, Katy Perry or the Jonas Brothers when lifting heavy things decreases testosterone levels by as much as 80%, dropping your strength and power output capabilities down to approximately the level of a carboard cutout of Miley Cyrus.


To counteract the strength-sapping, catabolism-inducing effects of sucky training music, I have provided a daily remedy for treating these severe symptoms in this post.

Side effects may include a newly-found desire to load more weight on the bar, an uncontrollable need for headbanging between sets and a sharp increase in lusty gazes from attractive females wearing tight spandex.

Turn the volume up (I mean UP!) and wear your game face like the nice gentlemen of Metallica above as you go about shattering previous personal records with ease.

#10 Foo Fighters – Best of You

Dave Grohl has got one of the best voices in contemporary rock, and I get chills every time he lets loose at the 2:00 mark in this video.

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Simple Training and Nutrition Tips for Young Hockey Players

Now that I’m fully back on the writing saddle after a four-month hiatus from the blog at the beginning of this year, I’ve begun receiving more training related questions again.

A few days ago, I found an email in my inbox from a young hockey player seeking my advice on nutrition and off-ice training.

Crosby goal

Here’s the email (edited slightly for clarity and to protect privacy):

“Dear Yunus,

I was wondering if you could help me out.

I am a 16-year-old hockey player. I am contacting you for some advice for working out over the summer as a hockey player.

I live [on the East Coast] so unfortunately I cannot train with you however; I was hoping you could help me out with my training. I am small for my age (5’4) but height is overrated and I know you know because you saw numerous small hockey players at Ben Prentiss’s gym.

My goal this summer is to get bigger, stronger, and most importantly faster. I have learned that no matter how hard you work in the gym if you do not eat right you will not see the results you want.

This brings me to my first question, what is considered a good protein recovery shake?

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One Simple Trick for Increased Exercise Volume

Anderson Squat

As strength & conditioning coach Mike Boyle is fond of saying: “In the fitness industry, common sense is not very common.”

I was once again reminded of this in the middle of my own training session yesterday.

Normally, I pay zero attention to what other people are doing in the gym, as I’ve noticed reminiscing about Jessica Alba’s underwater scenes in Into the Blue in the midst of a rest period keeps my blood pressure relatively within the accepted norms as opposed to having to witness yet another leg press-knee extension-lying leg curl training session that seems to be the go-to lower body workout for almost every personal trainer and their clients in town.

Jessica Alba_into the blue

See? I told ya that was an Oscar-worthy performance by Jessica. If only I knew how to Photoshop myself in there and become that creepy white guy groping those tight little buttocks palpating her hip rotators, I think I could die happy…

But as I recovered from my R-rated, heavily Jessica Alba-influenced thoughts for a thorough look at the peeps training at the half-empty gym, it suddenly dawned on me that almost nobody uses supersets (sets combining opposite muscle groups/movement patterns) in their strength training sessions.

Why should this matter? Continue Reading

I Have Ebola!

Well not really… But I do have a new job!

I recently started as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for a youth hockey organization in Espoo, Finland – which means I’m responsible for designing and carrying out all their off-ice training sessions in preparation for and during the upcoming hockey season.


To say I’m happy about this opportunity to teach proper training and lifting habits to young athletes is like saying Jessica Alba all dolled up, flashing a peachy smile and a generous amount of cleavage looks kinda nice – a gigantic understatement.


On that note, I realize I’ve been severely underperforming on the writing front this year. My goal is to turn the tables around and start pumping out some fresh new content ASAP.

With that in mind, the direction of this site will take a new turn as well. I’ll be writing more about strength training for hockey players and youth athletes while also throwing in the occasional article for the gen pop out there.

I’ve got a few cool plans and projects scheduled for 2015, so be sure to check back here on the site regularly.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with what has the potential of being the dopest new movie release of the summer…

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Those Who Lift

A few more nights left until December 24… and I’d venture a guess that there still are a few gifts that need to be bought before it’s time to attack that juicy roast turkey and ’em delicious jam pastries?

This Christmas, do yourself and the lifter/meathead in your friend/family member/significant other a favor by forgoing the Calvin Klein long johns, cheap imported vodka and Mariah Carey concert tickets that typically only generate a lukewarm reaction upon unwrapping a much awaited holiday present, and opt for one (or more) of the items on this list instead.

1. Medicine Ball

Med ball

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A great tool for developing upper body explosiveness.

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