Use Complex Lifts to Prepare for a Long Season | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Use Complex Lifts to Prepare for a Long Season

March 10, 2011

Training camp, pre-season, regular season and [hopefully] playoffs—that’s quite a bit of high-intensity competition in a short period of time. Depending on where an athlete plays, game totals for a year can range from 50 to more than 100. And if you happen to be a junior hockey player who gets called up at the end of the year, we’re talking higher totals yet.

What does this mean to the athlete from a physiological point of view? Simply said, accumulated competition volume often results in fatigue and breakdown. The answer to this fatigue lies in the work an athlete does in the off-season. A major part of off-season workouts should be complex lifts, incorporating Olympic-style variations.

As an athlete, your major concern in regards to performance is power. Other performance characteristics like strength, movement, balance and mobility are important, but power remains the most measurable aspect of your game.

Lower body power, thought of in terms of “speed strength” or “strength speed,” can be improved by a systematic program that recruits a large portion of muscle fibers in a short space of time. Jump work [Cleans, Squats, etc.] is critical, but since hockey particularly involves many short- and long-term puck battles and repeated body contact, the higher load characteristics of complex lifts suit the training demands of the sport very well.

Off-season programming for us at Crash Conditioning involves incorporating complex lifts. One great example is Bear Mountain [see video below]. Athletes will perform two to five circuits of the exercise one to two times per week, depending on progression and overload. Repetition totals vary, but each set is often very demanding and can last upwards of 30 to 45 seconds—which is also the average shift length for a competing player.

By incorporating complex lifts, we can ramp up intensity and condition the athlete for the demands of a long season.

Photos:, Crash Conditioning

Shawn Stead is the director of athletic development at Crash Conditioning, located in Calgary, Alberta. His education focused on the performance enhancement of athletes. He has worked with the U.S. Ski Team’s Sport Science division and has developed, consulted, coached and managed programs for the Lethbridge Hurricanes [WHL], Hockey Alberta, University of Lethbridge Athletics and other sporting organizations in Western Canada.


Shawn Stead
- Shawn Stead is the director of athletic development at Crash Conditioning, located in Calgary, Alberta. His education focused on the performance enhancement of athletes. He...
Shawn Stead
- Shawn Stead is the director of athletic development at Crash Conditioning, located in Calgary, Alberta. His education focused on the performance enhancement of athletes. He...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,307,152
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,222,480
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 4,195,654

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,618
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,006,048
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,635
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,573
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Mobility issues and injury, specifically a wrist injury, can be a huge problem for an Olympic lifter, or any athlete that uses Olympic lifting in their...

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Todd Durkin

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength