We might have be wrong on this one…

For those of you who are NOT in the fitness industry (or those of you who are just starting out) you need to know something. I first learned it from one of my mentors Peter Twist – he said ‘half of everything I know is wrong…I just don’t know which half’.

It isn’t so much a matter of just being wrong it is more that we didn’t know better. You see the fitness industry has lots of pendulums and they swing back and forth from one extreme to the other.

To bounce or not to bounce…

When I was a kid, my Dad used to do these ballistic toe touch to overhead reaching exercises after his 3-mile jog all while wearing one of those old school Adidas track suits – matching top and bottom, with the stirrup pants. Come to think of it fashion is on a pendulum too because I had the matching track suit that I LOVED in the 70s, would not have been caught dead in during the late 80’s and all of the 90’s but now I would LOVE to get my hands on one of those.

I digress – my point is THAT was how we did it in the 70’s but then that became bad – you can’t bounce when you stretch are you crazy? Stretches were held. Static stretching was the right way to do it, everyone knew that.
Now what do we do in the gym? – we still do static stretching (yes, I know THAT is supposed to be evil right now, but just wait a few years, it will be fine again) but now it is followed up with dynamic stretching. Welcome back, I missed you ๐Ÿ™‚

Only HIIT will do…

Fast forward and high intensity interval training was ‘discovered’. There was hardly enough room on that bandwagon for everyone to jump on. The research was compelling. The poor aerobic training bandwagon of the 70’s sat parked in an empty lot, completely abandoned…but wait, when I look now I see a couple strength coaches riding that wagon from time to time. I might become one of them.

Please read this…I am not suggesting that the bulk of your training will go back to long slow steady training. I would wager that will never happen. What I am suggesting is that we need to make sure our players are getting enough aerobic stimulus during their off-ice hockey training. If our goal is to put them in the 110-150bpm range for 20-40 minutes at a time to get some aerobic adaptations which include:

  • ยŸ Increased capillary density so you can more efficiently bring oxygenated blood to working muscles and remove waste products
  • ยŸ Increased anaerobic threshold so you can work at higher intensity before your legs start to burn
  • ยŸ Increased mitochondrial density so you can produce more energy molecules for muscle action

So we have to get our jogging suits back on?

We can do that in ways that are still productive to their hockey training – our dynamic warm up puts the hockey players we train in that 110-150 zone. Most of our weight training does the same.

So really we have been addressing it all along, but now we are just realizing it’s importance.

The one thing I have changed with the elite hockey players, like those in the Elite Goalie Strength & Conditioning Program, you can try if you wish, is I have added a 20-40 minute long ‘Category 2’ energy system workout once per week. This is an idea I got from Colorado Avalanche strength coach Casey Bond. I am still not 100% sure it helps, but I am also pretty sure it doesn’t hurt.

I think of it as recovery workout, a time to bring the intensity down, relax, breathe and rest. We let players do it using any modality that is not jarring for them – bike, elliptical, slideboard, hiking, etc. and they must wear a heart rate monitor when they do it because it is much lower intensity than they are used to so the tendency is to go too hard.

So there you go, everything old is new again.ย  We monitor the intensity of our lifts to make sure we are getting some aerobic stimulus and add in one Category 2 (110-150bpm) workout per week.


PS – hope you are having a great Canada Day weekend – remember, to celebrate I am giving you a nice deal on the Elite Goalie Strength & Conditioning group