Workshop #2 – Off-Ice Goalie Training: Aerobic Deficit Phenomenon

What’s shaking gang? So this is your second free live workshop that I’m holding as part of a pre-camp blitz. This blitz might last longer than one week cause I was over in Shutout Academy. We have a private Facebook group. Goalie Training Lab is a private Facebook group as well, where we’re running the butterfly challenge right now. But the Shutout Academy’s private Facebook group is only for members of the Shutout Academy, which is the comprehensive off ice goalie training program. It has mobility, strength, speed, stamina. Everything you need is in there. It’s a buck to try it for a week if you’re interested. It’s at

Anyway, I was over in there and some of the goalies are starting to head into training camp and it’s cool cause we have teenage goalies who are trying to move from double A to triple A or triple A to junior hockey. We have a couple guys who are getting ready for PTO’s, professional tryouts. Some guys that play pro in Europe. Some guys and girls who play college. Lots of adult league goalies. So they’re all in there in a community and really supporting one another and it’s fantastic. It’s one of the things I love the most about training goalies and why I dedicated my career to doing it because you’re so supportive of one another. We’re like a team. So it’s very cool.

Some of the goalies are starting their tryouts and one of the goalies was like “Oh tonight was the first night of tryouts and man the other two goalies are like 6’2.” And this guy’s not tiny, he’s like “Oh the other guys are 6’2″ and they’re monsters.” He knew what he was doing but so then that gave me the idea anyway that I think next week I’ll do a couple things on, “Hey you know what, here’s how to stand out at tryouts and here’s how to sort of keep a level head but ultimately you can only control what you can control. Worrying about them isn’t gonna make them magically shrink.” Maybe and if they’re 6’2″ amazing, awesome, athlete, goalie that consistently stops more pucks than you do, then how can you argue.

They earned that job more than you did. I think we’re getting away from the time when the big blob guy shows up and he gets the job because he’s big. But I know it still happens sometimes, but still, worry about what you can control.

What we’re here to talk about today is the Aerobic Deficit Effect.

Check out the video to see all the visuals I talk about below.
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So, you know, and people say this as a joke. I don’t know, you can give me a thumbs up if you feel the same way as I do cause I’m just the third worst goalie in the world. We go out on Sunday mornings and play Shinny. But still, people as a joke will be- So we were doing power skating in the summer, and then we do a little scrimmage. So on the last day of power skating, our power skating instructor, he couldn’t show up. So we just went out and did a little skate at the start on our own and then played Shinny.

At the end, one of the skaters said to me, “Oh did you like that skate at the start?” I was like, “Yeah, that was fine.” And she’s like, “Well you must have really like it cause at least you got some exercise in.” Like a skate in, like you got to exercise. Like playing Shinny, actually playing goal wasn’t really exercise cause all you do is stand there, right? Did you guys know that?

Because sometimes what you guys do looks spectacular. In a way it’s true. It’s true that goalies don’t cover the same linear distance, don’t hit the same speeds cause we’re not really getting a chance to get to top speed very often. You’re not getting smashed, you’re not battling for the puck in the corners. I mean you’re battling, but you’re not getting smashed as much or consistently as skaters but still there’s that incredible onset of fatigue.

The play comes in your end, maybe you make the first save or two saves, you feel good, you’re moving in your crease. You’re crisp, you’re powerful, you got it dialed in and then, the polar bear jumps on your back, and your legs turn to jelly. Then your brain and your legs are battling like your brain is saying no, we gotta be there, and your legs are like ohh, I can’t do it. They turn to jelly. Which is frustrating and then you get into that desperation, and it’s just like you know what, please somebody fire the puck out of the zone because this puck is gonna end up in the back of the net just because my legs won’t behave.

Do you guys, am I talking about something that you understand and appreciate? Or am I the only one that gets tired? Maybe no one else gets tired. So we want to try to put off the jelly leg and we want to help you understand how that happens and why it works.

So we’re gonna start just by going over the energy systems. This is like super Reader’s Digest version. Like I was saying the other day when we did the mobility one, I took probably five courses through University just studying this stuff. I studied a full entire course just looking at how skeletal muscle works. But this is all you need to know.

We basically have three energy systems. This is a percent of energy produced from that system over time. Don’t get the idea that, “Oh, so right now I’m using 100% this system and at this time I use 100% this system and then I use that system.” You’re always using all three systems. It’s just gonna be different proportions. Again, this is a simplification.

And again think, we evolve not to play hockey, we evolve to basically stay alive. So we’re just chilling, loving life and a lion jumps out of the jungle. And we’re like ahhh, we get up and we just start booting. So that’s what I want you to picture. So we jump out of the, the lion jumps, now I’m distracted. The lion jumps out, we take off. So we’re using our anaerobic alactic system. This is why we should all have just been 100 meter sprinters because this is basically free energy and it lasts about 10 to 20 seconds, maybe not even.

That’s free energy. It’s just in our body. You probably heard of, you’ve heard of creatine. So why people take creatine is because it just helps replenish this anaerobic alactic system. In your muscles, and people liked the science the other day so I’m gonna talk a little bit science again. In your muscles, you have creatine and a phosphate and they bind together. This initial system, well let me re-backtrack again too. So in the mobility one, if you missed it, go back and watch it. But we talk about the actin and they myocin and the cross bridges and they swivel and that’s what makes your muscle contract. But what your muscle needs to unhook kind of, and to swivel back is a phosphate molecule, which is weird but it’s true.

That phosphate molecule or what it needs to sort of make that crossbridge is a phosphate molecule. In the muscle you have creatine bonded to a phosphate so the energy molecule is called ATP, adenosine triphosphate. When it gives up one of its phosphates to help with that cross-bridge linking, then it becomes ADP, adenosine diphosphate. So triphosphate, diphosphate. But it needs to be triphosphate to make the swivel go.

So the creatine phosphate in your muscle cell is like “You can have my phosphate.” So then that phosphate jumps right back on the ADP, makes it ATP and then we can go. So it’s fast and it’s free. There is a lion that just jumped out.

The lion is actually pretty hungry so he’s still chasing you so you’ve been running 10, 20 seconds. Really 10 seconds. This is done. It takes about three minutes of rest to replenish to about 95% of its original or 99% or its original thing. So that’s where creatine phosphate comes in.

You get creatine if you eat red meat in your diet. You can have enough creatine but if people don’t eat a lot of red meat then it helps sort of top it off. It won’t super saturate. It won’t store extra because you have extra, you just pee it out.

You’re still chucking. Now you’re gonna go into your anaerobic lactic system. The problem with this one is, uh oh, it creates lactic acid. So it produces energy pretty quickly but there’s a pretty big price to pay and that’s in the form of lactate. You’re gonna start getting jelly legs. See here where this anaerobic lactic system starts to fail, that’s when we’re like, “Whoa, we are in trouble.” This is where, this is the jelly leg syndrome, this is where your brain is telling your legs but your legs are like, I can’t, I can’t. And then we’re a little bit screwed for that until we get a bit of a rest and we can recover and keep going.

If you’ve ever run a 400 meter run, if you never have, go out and do it so you know, but not if you haven’t sprinted since high school cause you’ll tear your hamstring or rupture your achilles or something dire will happen, I know it. But if you’re fit and you routinely sprint, go out and run a 400 meter at the track, as fast as you can, and you’ll know exactly when this happens. This happens when you’re maybe just into the second curve, around 300 meters and somebody drops a cement block inside a full refrigerator on your back and you’re just like, ugh. You’re going so hard but you know your legs are just like ahh, like that. So that’s that very unpleasant zone.

But we’re still going cause the lion is still chasing us. Then we get into our aerobic system. Our aerobic system can produce a lot of energy but it takes time. It’s not that fast. We can’t just, somebody will be like, “I’m just gonna go out and sprint a mile.” Well, you can’t sprint a mile. You can run a mile hard but you can’t, once you get to two minutes, your sprinters are gonna be done and you’re just gonna be going steady state around your threshold. So this is sort of your aerobic threshold when your energy demands go above that, then you have to go anaerobic, but if you keep trying to go anaerobic then your lactate’s gonna build up and it’s gonna push you back down because your system just can’t keep up with that. It can’t clear the waste products fast enough and it forces you to slow down by turning your legs into cement, basically. Yeah, nice eh? So, that’s how that works.

So why do you guys fatigue faster than everybody else? Why do you seem to hit that threshold a little bit sooner? The answer is and I’m, I think this is the answer that when I apply the physiology of it and the biomechanics of it and the anatomy of it, this is the answer that I have for you. It’s your equipment. It’s your equipment’s fault. It’s not me. It’s my equipment. And I think in particular, it’s your pads and probably your glove and your blocker because they are, your chesty has a mass as well, but it’s around your torso. It’s where you’re most efficient to carry that mass whereas your pads are further out on your extremities.

I can hold a weight. The weight doesn’t change right? It’s gonna be 10 pounds no matter where I hold it. So I can hold it close and be fine and it doesn’t actually feel that bad at all but if I move it away from my axis of rotation, that’s heavy. And now I’m fatiguing and I’m not gonna be able to hold it there very much longer without cheating because it’s getting further and further away from the axis of rotation.

If you think of your pads on your legs, here’s an example, in the Military, they talk about a pound on your feet is worth five pounds on your torso. So what that means is if my, for every pound, my boots, in the army, if my boots are heavier, I could, it’s the equivalent of adding five more pounds to my rucksack. If we think of your pads on your legs, I know pads are way, way lighter than they used to be, but I’m pretty sure there’s no pads that are less than a pound out there right now. So that is adding more and more load to it.

Also consider moving those legs cause really you’re moving from your hip joint so that’s a pretty long distance. I know your pads come up over your hip but the majority of the weight is distal to your hip or half the weight at least. Well all the weight is distal to your hip. So there’s an added load, just like when I held the weight close, it was easy but when I held it out there, it was really, really heavy. It was a lot more work on my muscles.

So now you’ve got all that weight and your engine’s revving at a higher load. If I sat in the car and revved my engine at high, even though I’m not moving, I’m gonna be burning more gas. Think of like, pick up your goalie bag. Just pick it up and carry it around for an hour and see if you’ve used any energy or if you feel fatigued. Now try to do some lateral micro hurdle drills or some up downs with that bag. You’d be burned, right? It’s so much harder than if you were just walking around for an hour without that load or doing a few up downs.

So my point is this, even when you’re just in the net, even when the play’s at the other end of the ice, you guys are probably still  using up all this energy already working so then when you start having to actually do stuff and move and make saves, this area under the curve is a lot smaller than all of this area under the curve. So you’re gonna burn through that anaerobic alactic and anaerobic lactic systems that much faster. And these are pretty short systems to use up before you get driven back down into your aerobic system. Does that make sense? So that is the aerobic deficit. You’re already revving your engine higher than everyone else, just even when the play’s at the other end. Even when you’re just standing there. You’re already using a good portion of that capacity before you get into that anaerobic system and start getting the leg burn.

So now I know what you’re thinking. Half of you are thinking, “So I should wear a weight vest when I do all my training.” I know I’m right. The other half of you are even craftier and you’re thinking, “I should strap weights to my legs when I do my workouts and that will help.” You’d both be wrong. Number one, with the weight vest you would be wrong because I know you’d grab the heaviest weight vest you could find. You’d go to the fitness store and be like, “This is only 45 pounds? You got a 70 pound weight vest?” Which would end up just slowing you down when you’re trying to be explosive and do your off ice agility and stamina training.

The thing about adding weights to your legs is that’s gonna change your whole biomechanics. It’s not gonna replicate the weight distribution, not from your pads. Again this is gonna throw you off, change forces on your body, change how you use muscles and could do more harm than good. So, don’t do either of those.

Sometimes we do use a 15 pound weight vest or even a 20 pound weight vest for specific types of training but that’s really not the solution. The solution is number one, you need to get on the ice. I don’t mean you need to be on the ice all summer. I don’t mean you need to be on the ice five days a week. I just mean you need to be on the ice once or twice during the summer a week, during the summer and then as it gets closer to camp, ramp it up a little bit. Because nothing, nothing, nothing, will replace the feeling of being on the ice and moving with your equipment. To try to do that off the ice, I think is a little bit silly because you’re not making the best use of your off ice training time when you can increase your envelope, so spend that time on the ice moving and working in your equipment.

From my perspective, from the off ice perspective, you want to build stamina in your big muscles. Which I think those of you who are training actually do pretty well, but it’s your small muscles that are gonna get you. You’ve probably felt it cause I hear it all the time. Guys will go on the ice before they start the program, they’ll go on the ice and be like, “My hip just cramps when I get in a certain position and it just feels like it’s gonna give out.” And sometimes our quads obviously are going to be shaking and exhausted but it’s not gonna be like, “Oh yeah, my glutes are fatigued like crazy.” It’s more like, “Oh yeah, there’s that little muscle or the outside of my lower leg is just burning.” And that’s the limiting factor because it’s a smaller muscle. It doesn’t get trained if you’re just doing squats, leg press, knee extension, hamstring. You’re not training any of that stuff.

We had one of our Shutout Academy goalies, he described it perfectly. He was a very fit guy, very diligent with his training. He had done a crossfit type training before and his back, his glutes, his quads were super strong. He was very happy with his results he was getting from his training but he thought, “Man I might give this a try and just see what the whole training package is like.” So he joined the Shutout Academy and he was like, “Within two weeks, I felt it, my teammates were coming up to me. I was just making saves I’ve never saved before. I was quicker on the ice.” Because again, he’s not just using those big muscles, he’s got that stability and that smarts and the stamina in those little muscles so that he can get into the position he needs to be in and hold it for a sustained period of time.

So you need to get after your smaller muscles too. Then you need to work on your vertical agility. So that going from your knees to your feet, your knees to your skate, that is a huge energy demand. You guys do it a lot so that’s something that we need to work on as well so that your body is used to that.

So now we’ll head into the back gym and we’ll do a little demo so I can show you. Here is where you’ll want to watch the video to get a better visual of this. Again, this is just a snippet. It’s not everything you should do. It’s just a little snippet to help you understand how we apply this principle and how we can do some training to help minimize it. We’re never gonna make it so that, you’re always gonna be tired at the end of the game. It’s just that you’re gonna be moving faster, more explosively, moving faster and more explosively but at a lower percentage of your threshold.

So in the gym, you might do squats, you might do leg press. You might do a lot of bilateral work, so both legs working at the same time. So there isn’t really a demand for stability. We want to try to add that element so we do a lot of single leg squats, lateral hop and stick, different types of deceleration exercises. But then we also will try to work our big leg muscles, but in different types of patterns to prepare you for what you need to do. So again, there’s a difference between strength and stamina. And we’re talking a little bit more stamina right now.

We use a lot of split squats. So holding weights and then coming down into our split squat position and back up again. So then what we could progress to is just doing a low split squat, so staying down in this range for our low split squat. Again, we have to do some control at our hip, otherwise our knee’s gonna be falling in. We’re holding that sustained tension so we’re staying low in our legs while we’re doing movements. And you’ll see next, I have a little more goalie specific example for you, you’ll see what it means.

So we could get on this air X pad that just gives us a little bit of wiggle. It gives our front foot a little wiggle and then we can add a little bit of speed to it, but staying in that nice low range. That’s a pretty basic progression.

Now if we look for a little bit more goalie specific progression. Think about what you typically do for your stamina training right now? Do you run on the treadmill? I bet a lot of you are like, “Oh I do intervals, that’s what I’m supposed to do.” It’s usually running or biking, sometimes it’s even jump rope, which is, I like the bouncing of the jump rope. I think it’s good for your connective tissue but it doesn’t really use your quads or your glutes all that much. It uses them in that little range but not the way you need them on the ice. Maybe you do stair master or maybe you do elliptical, whatever. It doesn’t account for that vertical agility.

I’m gonna fire these knee pads on. This would be a little bit more of a goalie specific stamina thing. Then again, you’re never gonna eliminate that aerobic deficit, you’re just gonna increase your body’s capacity to deal with it. Going full out is always gonna be hard because it’s full out but as you get more fit and more strong and more importantly more goalie fit and strong, your top level is that much faster, that much more explosive.

It also means that then when you’re just doing more routine saves, you’re using less energy. It actually takes you less energy to go from this post to the top of your crease. Usually don’t have to push with as much effort. You’re sparing energy there, but if you have to make a post to post desperation save, you have more speed and power to get there on time.

Here’s this example, we’re gonna do a little knee recovery. We’re gonna do a knee recovery, lateral push, back and forth. Then we’re gonna do some post reaches, then I’m gonna do ultimate knee recovery. You can see where this is getting in that vertical agility. So I’m going from a knee down position and I’m trying to use good position too so I don’t want to be sitting back like this when I’m here. Cause I don’t want to be there on the ice. I want to be up and have my torso forward a little bit. Then I’m gonna do a nice knee recovery lateral push, and might come back down to one or both knees, push, just gonna push, keeping nice strong torso. One more back and then I’m gonna come in and I’m gonna do my post reaches, and then I’m gonna stay nice and low. I’m just staying low, building that stamina in my legs, but also getting that stamina in my hip in different positions. Then I’m gonna come right into alternate knee recovery, keeping my body nice and quiet.

There are a million ways we can manipulate those variables to make it more speed oriented, more stamina oriented, but I think you can appreciate how that’s gonna give you more bang for your buck. It’s gonna give you more survival power in the net than hopping on the bicycle and smashing away.

Actually I had a medicine ball here too because I think on those post reaches, it would be fine to hold a medicine ball to add a little bit of overload. Or even for that whole sequence, to wear a 15 pound weight vest would be totally, totally cool. No problem at all.

Okay. I think that’s it gang, so you guys have an awesome day. Go get it and I will catch you later on. Next we’re talking about oh, The Eccentric Advantage, that’s a good one. You’ll want to catch that one. It’s about how you can get stronger and faster and more mobile while reducing your risk of injury on the ice. Yeah, you’ll like that one. Okay, this is Maria from See ya.