Why Copying Great Hockey Players May Be Ruining Your Game

Why Copying Great Hockey Players May Be Ruining Your Game

It is a well-known (but unspoken) fact among strength coaches that many high-level athletes make it to the top *in spite of* their training, not because of it.

98% of the time when I see an NHL or other pro hockey player train off the ice, I'm not impressed.

Some of the mindless shenanigans I've witnessed guys appearing in ESPN highlights do in the gym:

* Balancing on a wobble board while throwing a med ball

* Quarter-squats with resistance bands

* Dumbbell flyes

* Benching light dumbbells lying on a fit ball for "better core activation"

* Jumping over hurdles and landing with knees collapsing in on every rep

* Pumping away on the incline chest press machine

​Put a player without above-average hockey skills on such a training program, and I guarantee he won't become the stand-out athlete he's expecting to be.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they got worse from that useless crap.

Some of the best players in the world don't even train off the ice. They coast on their hockey skills alone. Yet they win titles and awards.

How else do you explain someone like Alex Ovechkin enjoying such an illustrious career when his off-season diet consists of beer, fried steak and hookah - entering training camp at a soft 240 pounds every fall?

(Seriously, google that shit)

And, he's far from the only guy to do so.

Every summer, 1-2 KHL teams use our gym for a week or so during their pre-season camp. That gives me an excellent opportunity to observe how these highly-paid pros, several of whom have played in the NHL, prepare for the upcoming hockey season.

Once, I was in the midst of my own training session when two KHL players and their strength coach dropped in. One of the athletes a young 20-something, the other appeared to be close to 40.

The older player looked somewhat familiar but that's not what caught my attention.

No, it was the fact he had the start of a buddha belly.

Yes, he was fat!

It shocked me how this pro athlete could be in such a horrendous shape a month or so away from their first regular season game.

I was even more stunned to find out he had scored 50+ points in his best season for the Montreal Canadiens when still playing for the bleu-blanc-rouge several years back.

Like I said before, some of the top athletes we watch on TV aren't successful because of their off-ice training. Rather, despite it.

And, here's another dash of truth you won't hear anywhere else...

If you're not genetically gifted, you gotta work at least ​twice as hard ​as your more talented peers if you ever want to realize your full potential as a hockey player.

Even then, you may never hold a candle to someone who naturally reads the game at a very high level, skates effortlessly, and can dangle in a phone booth.

How so?

In between sets, guys talk. And often, they talk about how a teammate or someone they have played with trains in the gym.

That has given me a pretty good idea of who lifts with a purpose, and who just wings it. In fact, I could name a​t least 10 current NHL'ers off the top of my head whose off-ice training could be described as so-so at best, yet top the scoring charts year after year.

Thus, you can't expect to get anywhere when copying the exercises you see them perform on YouTube or in a magazine article.

Super talented athletes can get away with doing mediocre, downright detrimental workouts without their performance plummeting.

The rest of us can't.

For a training plan specifically designed to pack strength, size and power on genetically non-gifted hockey players, visit this link today:


Yunus Barisik

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Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, specializes in making hockey players strong, fast and explosive. He has trained 500+ hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including T Nation, STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.

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