Good Luck Vince!

This summer, we at Razor’s Edge Performance had the pleasure of working with a new client named Vince. Vince is a professional hockey player from the GTA who has been playing in Europe for the past 4 years and has come back to play in the AHL this season. Vince is in training camp with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, and hopes to not only make the team, but make an impact this season and catch the attention of the big club.

We  had 6 weeks to get Vince and his body in the best possible shape in order to perform on the ice. The first week we tested his abilities, taught some routines and exercises, and started building a foundation of fitness.  From then on, we trained 4 days a week for the final 5 weeks.

One of the biggest improvements we saw, came in his bench press. In 5 weeks, his projected maximum went up just over 30lbs! The exciting part is that we didn’t have enough time to focus on his bench press. We had to make sure his speed, power, agility, strength, and conditioning were all improving at the same time. We had to make sure his risk of non-contact injury on the ice was reduced as much as possible.

So why did his bench press improve so much when we only benched once a week? This one comes down to the central nervous system. When we are talking about improving strength and power, we often overlook the fact that the nervous system is one of the most important factors. Too many people focus on the specific muscles involved, then isolate and superset them for a huge pump. This is the definition of bodybuilder training. This may help you build definition, but it will decrease performance, and here is why. Doing high-energy, high-power movements like plyometrics, olympic lifts, and sprints improve the coordination between your brain and your muscles. Moving quickly increases your rate of force development, and the number of motor units activated. Since these improvements are related to your nervous system, the benefits are applicable to all movements, across all muscles. This way, every time we did a box jump or a sprint, we indirectly improved his bench press performance. Remember, the reason sports teams test the bench press is because it is a great measure of upper body strength and power.

Let’s all wish Vince good luck in San Antonio. I will try to update his progress regularly. For all the athletes out there, drop the body part splits, and start getting better at your sport!

PS – Vince scored a goal in each of the first 2 intrasquad scrimmages of training camp with the Rampage!

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