Build Awesome Arms (and stop more pucks)


I love it when players try to manipulate a situation to get what they want. When ‘core’ training became a buzz word 10-15 years ago, I remember the players I trained at the time asking for more core work so they would have less chance of getting injured and a harder shot…what they wanted was six pack abs.

I was talking with one of the Turning Pro goalies I work with online three days ago and he told me that he felt he really needed to work on his upper body a lot this off-season so he can make better glove saves and become a better puck handler…maybe he just wants to take his shirt off at the beach.

Whatever the reason, I am happy to work that into his custom off-ice program because I think he is right – a strong upper body lets you stay active with your stick, maintain a good glove position and handle the puck better… while not embarrassing yourself at the beach.

Here Are Three Exercises That Will Do Just That…

1) TRX Push Up + Reach

I love this one because it is so simple, but there is so much going on. There is shoulder stability, torso stability, hip stability and a big dose of single arm strength. If you get good at this one you have earned the right to take your shirt off and strut around.

Start with this version…

If you cannot see the video above, click here

And work your way down to this version…

If you cannot see the video above, click here

I use this one to work on strength while stabilizing, so keep the reps fairly low – 4-6 on each arm. Go slowly to start and with only half range of motion, then gradually go a little further to find your comfortable range.

If you have an UNSTABLE SHOULDER – then do not even attempt this one without talking to your doctor or physio first – you could dislocate 🙂

2) KB Bottoms Up Waiter’s Carry

I guess I can be sneaky just like the players I work with because this is really a core exercise disguised as a shoulder exercise. Well, it does train your shoulder too, so that’s what makes this a great exercise.

It will also highlight a lack of shoulder external rotation if you cannot keep your forearm perpendicular to the floor. So if your forearm is constantly angled inward and you cannot correct it, you need to work on your shoulder external rotation before you do this exercise.

And you really want to work on that movement because it is also necessary if you want to keep the pocket of your glove pointing forward when you are on the ice rather than pointing downward.

Remember that this is not a grip strength exercise, so don’t even bother making the excuse that your hands are sweating if the KB is constantly flopping over and smashing you in the back of your wrist.

You should have your wrist and elbow stacked with a stable shoulder and the KB balancing in position. If you extend your wrist or let your elbow drift out, then it is going to be very, very hard to do this drill successfully (without cheating).

If you cannot see the video above, click here

Do about 20 steps with each arm. You will be shocked at how much harder it is to do with your non-dominant hand.

3) Chin Ups

Yes, nothing magic here my friend – chin ups are one of my favourite upper body exercises out there. Have you ever seen someone who is clearly out of shape hop up and crank out 12+ chin ups? I don’t think so.

You need good body composition (read: not carrying too much extra junk in the trunk), good grip strength, strong biceps, strong lats and even a strong torso to do these successfully.

If you cannot see the video above, click here

Make sure you are getting all the way up AND all the way down – you do not look cool smashing out 17 reps of half-way down chin-ups…everyone knows you are cheating.

If you need to, put a bench under you when you do your chin ups, use your legs to help you up (or your training partner can help) and then slowly (count to 3) lower yourself back down. This will help build your base strength for chin ups.

Start with 4-6 reps and build your way up. When you get up to 10 reps, then you can start adding weight using a dip belt – fun eh?

So there are two new exercises and one oldie but goodie to help you build an upper body that truly will help you stop more pucks and let you look good at the beach in the meantime.

Happy training.


PS – HERE’s a complete and quick workout for goalies that you can do anywhere >> Click HERE.