Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Jack Of All Trades Workout For Hockey - Does It Work?

Can you really work explosive speed, power, strength, and endurance all in one workout?  I get asked this question many times by my clients, whose friends might be training somewhere else, whereby they do this kind of ass kicking workout that leaves everyone dying by the end.

My short answer to this question is always "Jack of all trades master of nothing" Some coaches might think they are effectively working speed, strength, explosive power and endurance all in one tough workout.  But what they are actually doing is re-enforcing poor movement patterns.  This contributes to lower levels of performance in their sport as none of these physical qualities actually show improvement.  The scientific references to support this comment are many and a known fact in the world of professional strength and conditioning coaches.

This problem has been building for years.  With the proliferation of so many hockey conditioning coaches and boot camp leaders, the industry has become inundated with people who are great marketers, but lack the physiological know how to really create an effective and safe off ice program.  

At the ACC we take our athletes through and assessment whereby we evaluate the joints of the body, and determine if they are in acceptable ranges as it related to mobility and stabilization.  If they are not, this is taken into consideration when developing the program and corrective measures are taken.  For this reason most athletes at the ACC will have a different program for the first 6-8 weeks of off-season training.  As we reach the final 4-6 weeks of training, and if the athlete has had positive corrections, then there might be a time when a group is completing the same workout.

Here are some perfect examples of mis-use of exercise prescription taken off the internet.  The actual exercise clips are very short, but I have extended them using slow motion to illustrate what happens to the body during improper exercise.

This first clip focuses on the low back.  This person is doing explosive pushups.  He is tired, sweaty and looks to be working hard.  Unfortunately as you will see, his lower back is being trashed in a very unsafe manner as he cannot stabilize his spine with his abdominals.  So although it appears to be an upper body exercise, the weak link is the core.  Have a look:

The spine is a major area of concern in any conditioning program.  Care must be taken in ensuring that stability and mobility are solid before loading explosively.  In this next example, we move to the thoracic spine.  Here the athlete is doing some kind of thrust with his legs to a jump and clean with a dumbbell.  This athlete has absolutely no ability to retract his scapula's and pull his chest up, which would provide a solid spine for this type of movement.  Another issue might be fatigue. If he was towards the end of his circuit he may have been very tired and not able to position his body in a safe manner.  This point again supports my comment in the first paragraph.  You cannot work explosive power and endurance in the same workout.  Again the clip is short, but errors very apparent when shown in slow motion.

The last clip takes a look at what might be called a functional exercise but I am really not sure what the purpose is, since it appears he is trying to do too many things and none of them quite right.   Have a look at his left shoulder blade during the movement in slow motion.  It is quite apparent that he has a winging scapula, as a result of a weak subscapularis or anterior serratus.  This type of loading could cause more harm to his shoulder.  Have a look at this last clip and decide for yourself

These are just a few examples of misuse of exercise prescription in the strength and conditioning world.  The next time you are thinking about what kind of program you need, remember there are no short cuts, only safe and progressive processes.

For those of you who feel that this is only my opinion with no foundation for my comments, please read the following.   These are some of the heavyweights in the strength and conditioning field.

"Lorne you are right on in your summary and examples. This poor form saps injury resilience, performance potential and tolerable training volume"

Stuart M. McGill, Ph.D.,
Professor of Spine Biomechanics,
Department of Kinesiology,
University of Waterloo,

"Whole body multi joint exercise under load must ensure excellent inter and intra segmental control to build a strong connected cohesive body from head to foot. Coach Goldenberg's critical eye for human function in movement demonstrates the importance of tutelage from an expert, experienced science based coach - training to perform versus training itself leading to dysfunction and injury"

Peter Twist, MSc, CSCS, Master Coach
President and CEO of Twist Conditioning, Inc

"Anyone can work hard...the real magic lies in finding the optimal ammout and type of exercise to elicit the desred response from training. This is particularly true in high skill sports like hockey, football and basketball. Proper posture and technique should never be compromised for the sake of a few extra pounds or reps."

Matt Nichol
Pro Strength & Conditioning Coach

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Angelo Esposito Atlanta Thrashers - Moves To Ottawa For Summer Preparation

Angelo Esposito has had a tough 4 years since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round 20th overall in the 2001 draft.

After an amazing junior career, and a 2009 Gold medal for Canada, Angelo has been plagued by knee injuries.  As a 22 year old, he has already had 3 ACL knee surgeries, and a hip labrum problem that had bothered him most of the last year.

As a first year Atlanta Thrasher, Angelo became good friends with Zach Bogosian, and his brother Aaron.  The 2 Bogosian brothers are legends at the ACC in Ottawa for their commitment to physical conditioning and testing records that both brothers hold.  It was through this relationship, that I first met Angelo last summer in Montreal.  Angelo was just recovering from one of his mid season surgeries, when I had the chance to evaluate him and develop a take away program for him.

He made some good gains last year, but Angelo realized that he needed even more of a commitment if he is to crack the Thrashers lineup.  With that he decided to move to Ottawa to train with me and completely dedicate himself to being the best he can possibly be when training camp rolls around this September.

After his initial evaluation, I found that Angelo has a number of mobility issues in his hips, thoracic spine, and shoulders.  Additionally he had weakness in his ability to stabilize his spine, and hips.  With this kind of information, I was able to create the first phase of his program, that will focus on these areas as well as strengthening his overall body.  This is important for Angelo as he needs to correct these issue before progressing to the heavier lifting and explosive work that is necessary to play NHL hockey.

Many young hockey players are involved in 60 minutes circuit programs that focus on strength, speed, endurance and foot quickness.  Generally these types of programs are recipes for disaster, and the opposite actually happens.  The player gets slow, and does not recover well, and their strength levels are no where near necessary to play OHL hockey, let alone the NHL.   The program that Angelo is now on is geared to improve his structural integrity of his joints, spine, and teach proper technique, which will set him up for proper success.

Keep your browsers posted here as I document his progress over the summer.   I will post updates every 2-3 weeks.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Daniel Briere ACC Client & Success In The Playoffs

Chris Lomon -
May 2, 2011
Daniel Briere & ACC Coach Goldenberg 
Daniel Briere isn’t the least bit disappointed when the forward tells you he’s not quite the player he was during the regular season.
The 2010-11 NHL campaign was a perfect illustration of the type of contributor Briere is.
A veteran of nearly 750 regular season games, the 24th overall selection of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1996 Entry Draft, recorded 34 goals, six of which came on the power-play and six that were game-winning tallies.
And while Briere, who had a stellar junior career with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, is still very much himself offensively, the 33-year-old native of Gatineau, Quebec, he’s relishing the chance to show a different side to his game.
“One thing I learned very on in my hockey career is that when it comes to being successful in the playoffs is that you sometimes have to play out of character,” said Briere, who was awarded the Michel Bergeron Trophy (rookie of the year), the Marcel Robert Trophy (scholastic player of the year) and was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team, all in 1995. “It’s going out doing the little things that you aren’t normally asked to do.”
Such as?                                                                                        
“For a player like me it’s winning faceoffs, finishing my checks and blocking shots,” said the centreman, who was named the 1996 QMJHL Humanitarian of the Year and the Ford Cup (offensive player of the year). “That’s what I learned a long time ago. To be able to apply that approach to your game is extremely important.”
And for Briere and the Flyers, dodging drama in the playoffs, would be a welcome relief.

Last year, Philadelphia roared back from a three-games-to-none deficit against the Boston Bruins to win their series en route to the Stanley Cup Finals.
This year, the Flyers spotted the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 series lead in their Eastern Conference quarter-final matchup before ousting them in seven games.
“One thing I learned very on in my hockey career is that when it comes to being successful in the playoffs is that you sometimes have to play out of character. It’s going out doing the little things that you aren’t normally asked to do.” – Philadelphia Flyers forward, Daniel Briere

Although they don’t manage to always do things easily, Briere has an appreciation for Philadelphia’s resilient ways.
“It’s kind of weird that we seem to always have our backs against the wall,” said Briere, who was part of the squad that slipped into the playoffs on the last game of the 2009-10 campaign via a shootout win against the New York Rangers. “But we’ve shown we can be at our best when we have no option but to win. I would say it’s more desperation than us being overly confident. When you have no choices and you’re in a tough situation, you have to respond. Luckily, we have.”
Briere has been a standout playoff performer before and during his NHL days.
Heading into this year’s post-season, he had 87 points in 86 games. In 10 QMJHL playoff contests, he recorded 23 points.
Being able to step up when the games matter most has always been front and centre in Briere’s mind.
“Even before I played junior or in the NHL, I grew up watching the playoffs, hoping I’d be there. I wanted to be that player, the one skating in the big games. And I feel very fortunate to have that chance. I get to play the game I love for a living. I feel very lucky and honoured to be in that position.”
Winning a Stanley Cup, not surprisingly, would be the ultimate for the forward who has won has won four gold medals in as many appearances with Team Canada (at the 1994 World U18 Championships, 1997 World Junior Championships, and the 2003 and 2004 World Championships).
“You go back to those days when you were playing on the street or at the rink, thinking about what it would be like to win the Cup,” said Briere. “There were so many guys I looked up to and saw how they performed in pressure situations, like some of my idols, Pat Lafontaine, Mats Naslund and Wayne Gretzky. You never know how many shots you’ll have to win it all, so you want to make the most of it. There’s just something about the playoffs that is so special.”
And what is Briere doing when he’s not helping lead the Flyers’ charge towards a Stanley Cup Championship? “I know people will laugh, but I’m actually at a hockey rink,” he offered. “All three of my boys play, so I’m out watching them. It’s a great change of pace for me. I’m usually sitting in the back, very quietly watching them. I don’t get emotional. I just love watching them play.
“People know who I am and what I do and they will come up and congratulate me and wish us luck. It’s nice to have that support.”
It’s also nice to have one of the game’s top offensive sparkplugs, a player that’s willing and able to do whatever it takes to earn the victory.

New ACC @ YMCA ScotiaBank Place Now Open

It has been a while since our last post, only because we have been crazy busy organizing the new ACC location at the YMCA in ScotiaBank Place.

We have been in a full 2 weeks following a week from hell setting up from our move from the dome.

The room is amazing, here are a few pics:

We have 4 platforms set up, all of our Keiser equipment and cables, 4 Scorpions, and a whole new set up of Nike Sparq equipment for all of our footwork and plyo's. Speaking of plyo's you will notice the blue carpet, well this is gymnastic flooring, making it a great surface for doing footwork and jumping on.  Additionally we have placed all of our ground based hammer strength equipment on the YMCA floor with their equipment, making our set up the largest around for functional training.   It should make for a very productive summer of training.