SST Burlington – Pro Circuit May Adult of the Month: Jen Beck

I started my workouts in my basement with DVDs for about 6 months, but I felt I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I was looking around at different gyms to join, when I saw the ad for Butts and Guts on a billboard. I didn’t think SST was going to be the gym for me because I thought it was specific to professional athletes only.
I still went in to check it and found that Butts and Guts was exactly what I wanted. After my first 2 months and seeing results and feeling very encouraged by the trainers at SST.
Now that I have become an annual member, John has made a specific training program for me with nutrition. I have become more driven and dedicated to my work outs, my work and life in general.
Joining SST has been the best decision for myself and well-being, SST is for everyone in all stages of fitness not just for athletes. The trainers and staff are fantastic, encouraging and dedicated to their gym and clients.
Which has helped me become dedicated to their programs, my fitness and overall my well-being.
Unlike all the other gyms SST is capable of creating a program for each and every individual, I would recommend and do, SST to all my friends and colleges.

Watch Jen’s interview video.

Strength and Conditioning Chose me!

S&C Chose Me

Growing up in the country and being part of an active family, health and fitness has always been a significant part of my life. Whether I liked it or not, screen time was always limited, but we could never be outside for too long. I tried as hard as I could to be a lazy couch potato, eating ice cream and twinkies until there was nothing but wrappers left. As awesome as that sounds for some reason, I always found my way back to the diamond, rink or field competing for bragging rights and self made highlights. As I have grown up and watched my body change from an awkward unathletic tween, to a decently strong, somewhat coordinated, “elite” recreational athlete. This is all thanks to the wonderful journey that is strength training.

As a young boy I loved playing all kinds of sports, running around town with my buddies, making up games and being active was my thing. School and class on the other hand was a constant challenge. Not to say I was a bad student, but applying my knowledge was certainly not something I did well. My low attention span and never ending desire to go outside, usually prevented me from getting my homework done and excelling on the academic side of things. Once I hit high school, homework went from half-assed to non existent; I was mostly concerned about what my buddies were doing and where we were eating lunch. Somehow I battled through high school maintain an average in the mid 70’s. My lack of focus, had me concerned about my future, I was unsure of my interests and what I wanted to do with my life. After discussing my options with the guidance counselor, we decided I should apply to Fitness and Health Promotion.

This college course looked perfect for me. I didn’t want to do University because it was more academic and I know I don’t learn well in that environment, on the other hand, this College course sounded right up my alley. Of course there were lectures, but the information was presented in a way that I could relate to and it was a topic I was interested in researching so the homework and assignments did not feel so daunting. The other nice thing for me was that there were a lot of practical portions and placements where we got to apply our knowledge in real situations. This gave me great real life experience and confidence that this was what I wanted to do prior to getting into the field.

I did my college field placement at SST Burlington and have now been working in the Strength and Conditioning field for 5 years, where I have had the chance to work with ALL types of people from Elite Athlete’s, to the Elite Athlete’s Mom, Dad and younger sister. I enjoy working with a diverse client base, because it forces you to think about ALL aspects of fitness in different situations and what strategies/exercises would be most effective in each case. My approach is to make the most realistic and effective plan for each client based off their personality, skill level and limitations. I find this field to be extremely rewarding because no matter whom you work with and what they do, you can ALWAYS help someone improve in the gym, with their nutrition as well as their overall quality of life.

I cannot see myself doing any other job, it fits my personality, it is my hobby, it keeps me healthy, I have become more confident in myself and love watching other people succeed. Train smart (and hard occasionally), eat right, be consistent……You will not regret it!

John Blair

Sled Training- not the dog type!

Sled Training for Hockey Players

Here at SST, one of the most common mistakes we see coaches make when training hockey players in the off season is to treat them like endurance athletes. Sure, an aerobic conditioning program will do some good for body composition and improving aerobic thresholds for hockey players, but overdoing it will have a decidedly negative impact on power and speed in game situations. Working too much on aerobic conditioning causes the body’s type II muscle fibres (fibres that are forceful and, therefore, beneficial to hockey players) to take on characteristics of type I muscle fibres (fibres that are slow and better suited for endurance athletes like marathoners). Obviously, this is not something we want to happen. In essence, training off-ice to become a better hockey player should focus on the proper elements of speed that simulate on-ice game situations – short bursts of speed followed by rest periods sufficient in length to allow full recovery.

One of the greatest tools that can be used in off-ice training sessions is the power sled – a device that allows athletes to run, shuffle, and perform various exercises with variable resistance accommodating the athlete’s strength level. The following power sled exercises are excellent in helping the athlete increase overall lower body strength, power, and speed – attributes every athlete strives to increase!

Backwards Sled Drag:

The backwards sled drag is an excellent exercise that targets a major weakness amongst hockey players of all ages – the Vastus Medialis Oblique muscle of the quadriceps. In layman’s terms, this is the muscle that is situated on the inside front of the upper leg, just above the knee, forming a “teardrop”. The vastus medialis oblique is important for hockey players to develop, since it is needed for on-ice balance, and also to keep the knee from buckling under stress.

To perform this exercise grab a hold of the handle, keep your arms straight, retract your shoulder blades, keep your chest up and take small step backwards for the recommended distance. This exercise seems easy for the first 20m, however at about 30m your legs start to feel like rubber and the last 10m seems to take an eternity – even if it is only a few seconds. This exercise is a great finisher! You’ll leave the training facility looking like you just learned to walk.

Sled Sprinting:

Sprinting using resistance is an excellent strength builder that can be used by hockey players during off-ice workouts. Like a batter who warms up in the on deck circle by swinging a weighted bat, the sled gives the athlete the ability to add extra weight to the sprint, thereby making them stronger and, of course, faster when they run without it. One important point to make however, is that a resistance that is too heavy has been found to lead to increased ground contact time, decreased stride length, disruption of kinematic sprinting techniques, as well as decreased efficiency during the acceleration phase of running. A good guideline for coaches and athletes is not to exceed 10% of the athlete’s weight on the sled – more is most definitely not better!

Lateral sled crossovers

Another benefit of the power sled in off-ice training for hockey players is in the sport-specific movements of on-ice skating mechanics. In essence, the sled can be used in such a fashion that it replicates on-ice movements, such as the crossover. In the lateral sled crossover exercise, the athlete attaches the belt and sled so that the sled is extended from the side of the athlete, not behind (as in the sled sprint). With the feet shoulder width apart and the toes pointed in the same direction as the shoulders, the athlete begins by crossing the leg closest to the sled (the trail leg) in front of the other leg (the lead leg) and pushing off, bringing the lead leg back into starting position (feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed straight). To work on muscular strength, the lateral sled crossover should be done in such a way that the upper body and hips are squared (no turning), which focuses on building the strength of the working leg. To maximize speed and power during the movement, simply turn the hips and upper body slightly, and focus on exploding with each stride. Maximum speed can be used here, and the goal should be to explode, accelerating across the surface in minimal time. Use the sled according to your own specific goals. Just remember to work both legs equally – after all, how many times have you crossed over in only one direction during a game??

Lateral sled shuffle

Like the sled crossover, the lateral sled shuffle once again places the sled at the side of the athlete. However, in this movement, the athlete steps out to the side with the lead leg (leg farthest away from the sled) and then pushes off with the trail leg, in a simulated hockey stride. This is one of the best exercises for hockey players, since it helps build muscular strength in the quadriceps muscle – particularly the lateral (outside) portion that is used during the on-ice stride. Once again, depending on your goals, you can use it with added resistance with a slow and controlled tempo (muscular strength) or with a lighter weight over a specified distance in as little time as possible (muscular power and explosiveness).

Be sure to use each exercise sparingly – that is, rotate each exercise into your routine every 4-6 workouts. Your body has a wonderful gift called “adaptation” and by using a technique consistently for months and months on end, the training effect will lessen, plateau, and eventually be lost altogether. By changing the exercise, increasing the time or distance used per exercise, increasing or decreasing the tempo of the exercise, and rotating each exercise, you will be on your way to out-skating and over-powering your opponent. Good Luck!!

About the Author:

Larry Jusdanis is the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. SST has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports. SST’s no nonsense approach to training has been used by thousands of athletes’ from a variety of sports all over the nation!


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