Goalie Specific Off-Ice Training vs. Pop Culture

Hope the week is going well.  Paul and I are off to Vegas tomorrow for my Mastermind Group meeting with Bedros Keuilian and Craig Ballantyne. It is always a great time to brainstorm with other top fitness pros from Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia.  Plus I get to ask Bedros and Craig (the best business coaches in fitness) questions specific to my situation.  I always come back with tons of ideas spinning round my head.

Now, being a member in this group is not for all comers.  For starters, you have to be interviewed and accepted into the program.  Once you are accepted, then you have to fork over a wheelbarrow full of cash for the privilege – I won’t tell you exactly how much, but I will tell you it is 5-figures per year.  Then we have to travel three times per year to attend the meetings (at our own expense).  Fortunately, Bedros and Craig hold most of the meetings in Las Vegas since it is pretty cheap to get there from almost anywhere and, well, it’s VEGAS BABY!

Before I joined this group, I really thought about the investment in coach – after all, one of my goals is to buy a used Porsche Boxster (about 10-year old one), which would cost me about the same as this coaching group.  So I had a choice – Porsche or coaching group….PORSCHE….or coaching group.  Well, as you already know, I picked the coaching group (I know the Porsche will come one day) and I have not regretted a single penny.  The information I have received from these meetings and the short phone consults with Bedros have been invaluable.  They have literally allowed me to double my business performance over the past 12-months.  This is actually where I got the idea for the Elite Goalie Strength & Conditioning Group – which has 5 open spots right now if you are interested CLICK HERE.

Is CrossFit Good Goalie Specific Training?

I get this question in several versions a few times per month – or I get arguments from certain members on some message boards telling me (based on their experience) how CrossFit or those videos you can by in the “As Seen On TV” stores are the best, most insane, awesomest ways for a goalie to train. PERIOD.  Much of this stems from this CrossFit video I posted a few weeks ago that is scary!  And by scary, I mean SCARY!!

Now, I can appreciate that some of you may just love doing CrossFit or the Rippem Shred’em 560Z workout.  I am not here to debate your preferences.  I have run 3 marathons and some would argue that this is not healthy for the body.  Heck…you guys stand in front of hard rubber pucks that people fire at your head – not really the best for your health maybe.  So if you love it – then love it…but please do not call it goalie specific training.  It is fitness training – extreme fitness training at that, but it is not goalie specific training.

For example, this is today’s Workout of the Day (WOD) from Crossfit – done for time as a circuit with no rest:

  • 50 Box jump, 24 inch box
  • 50 Jumping pull-ups
  • 50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood (not sure what this means – not sure I want to know “I pood” – yikes)
  • Walking Lunge, 50 steps
  • 50 Knees to elbows
  • 50 Push press, 45 pounds
  • 50 Back extensions
  • 50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Double unders

Is this hard – hell yeah this is hard!  If you went from sitting on the sofa eating Cheetos would you be in better shape than you were?  Yes, unless you ended up hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis which is the result of extreme muscle damage resulting in muscle fibre segments getting into the blood stream, traveling to the kidneys and essentially clogging the kidneys to the point of potential failure.   It is a medical emergency and has been documented more than once in CrossFit athletes.  For some that is a badge of honor, for me it is senseless.

Will this workout give you the explosiveness, stability, flexibility and strength you need to play your position effectively?  Nope.  It will give you good muscular endurance and stamina.  But your bread and butter is speed and agility which these workouts completely miss.

Do you see any regressions or progressions in this workout – for example, “if  this is your first month here, start with these foundation exercises?” Nope – everyone does it and if you don’t survive, well then you just aren’t tough enough to be one of us.

Here is what to look for in a good goalie specific training program…

  • Training for flexibility, stability, strength, speed and stamina
  • A progression of training complexity and load over time – the early phase exercises should almost seem easy
  • Some sport similar movements – exercises that teach the muscles of the hip and groin to lengthen under tension and work in concert with the core muscles
  • Some agility drills should constitute at least a portion of your energy system training.
  • Energy system training which includes short duration repeated bursts of explosive movements followed by rest intervals.
  • Exercises geared toward injury prevention of some common goalie specific injuries.

Now in defense of these programs – they are not touting them as goalie specific training programs.  They are marketed as general fitness programs.  In the case of CrossFit Gyms, there are some very good coaches running these gyms who deviate considerably from the Workout of the Day model – they modify the workouts to create more safe and effective general fitness workouts, which is great.

If you want to learn a little more about my argument from a physiology perspective then check out the video below….