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Should Goalies Do ‘As Seen On TV’ Workout Programs?

Should Goalies Do ‘As Seen On TV’ Workout Programs?

Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

Maria Mountain, M.Sc.

I love the age we are living in. I love the fact that we can collect information from all over the world using the internet. We can share our experiences and opinions. Love it!

Unfortunately, sometimes we are getting very passionate advice that may not be the best advice.

Let me give you an example: The guy at the local body-piercing shop may feel very passionate that I should have a bone pierced right through my nose. He has one and just loves it and he is sure that I will love it too. Although his argument is very compelling, putting a bone through my nose is not going to be right for me at this stage.

Expertise Based on Personal Experience

There are a few select forums where I contribute off-ice training advice and there are always very passionate followers of the programs that you can buy off the TV, such as p90X.

So someone will ask what they should do to make their AAA team next season and inevitably someone will chime in – ‘all you need to do is p90X, that’s it!’

Clearly they have had a very positive experience with this program and they are enthusiastic to share their experience, which is awesome. P90X is a very hard training program. As you may have gathered, it lasts for 90 days, which takes a lot of commitment. So I think it is a badge of honour to complete the program from start to finish.

You will see results – if you did any training program consistently for 90 days, you would see some sort of result. I would say that with p90X you likely get better results than many of the other workouts out there because the p90X workouts are quite intensive.

The downside is that some individuals who are just starting out with a fitness program and pushing themselves a little harder than they should (maybe not listening to Tony) can get injured. But the same can be said for marathon training, so I don’t want to point the finger specifically at this program.

So what’s my point? Simply, it is this: there are things about p90X that I really like:

• The detailed manuals

• The videos

• The training schedule

• The nutrition component

• The training log

I have modeled a lot of the same elements in my goalie training programs because I think it is just genius.

So if you are looking for a challenging fitness program and you are not interested in running a marathon or doing a Tough Mudder, then this might be a good option. It is not how I would design a program, but again, you may be very happy with it.

Those of you who see yourselves as a fitness enthusiast who also plays goal, and not as a goalie first and foremost, may be very happy with it. If you want to be able to tell people at the water cooler about how the workout kicked your butt, it might be a good fit.

If your goal is to become the go-to goalie in your league, you can do much better. If you want to tell people at the water cooler how you stopped 47 shots for your third shutout of the season, you can do much better.

Like I said above, I really like parts of p90X, but when I evaluate the program as a Certified Exercise Physiologist, it is clear that this is not the best training program for a hockey goalie.

The program splits the workouts based on body parts – just like a bodybuilder would. Again, I am not knocking the program. The manual talks about how to look better. They are not saying that it is a program to maximize athletic achievement.

The routines are split into

• Chest, Shoulder & Triceps

• Back & Biceps

• Legs & Back

• Plyometrics

• Abs

• Yoga

When you look at the schedule it has the participant do one “Legs & Back” workout per week and one “Plyometric” workout per week. So that is one lower body ‘strength’ routine per week and one lower body energy system workout per week.

I know you are using your legs for the Kenpo workout as well, so let’s be generous and say one strength workout and two energy system workouts per week. No matter how you slice it, it is not enough for a goalie.

Strength is the foundation for your power and power is the foundation for your speed on the ice. P90X has participants performing eight to 15 reps for their exercises, which I think is a good idea for the general fitness population, as you do not want them doing heaving lifting. But for a goaltender, this is where you lay the foundation for your power.

Your training should include a max strength phase where you are lifting in the two to four repetition range for your compound exercises, such as single leg squats, dumbbell presses, weighted chin ups.

Goalies already have it in their head that they need more endurance because they are on the ice for the entire game. But this is like a 100-meter sprinter feeling they should train endurance because they have to be at the track in between the heats and finals.

Yes, you need to be on the ice for the entire game and you need to have endurance in your ready position, but you earn your keep as a repeat sprinter, who can move explosively and then recover very quickly for the next onslaught.

If you are plodding along in the net then you (and your team) are basically, screwed.

So if we look at one of the Plyometic workouts in the program we see a two-minute and 30-second interval that includes squat jumps, run stance squats, airborne Heisman’s and swing kicks, and then 30 seconds of rest before repeating the 2:30 work interval again.

Again, not my opinion, physiological fact – you cannot develop explosive power using a 5:1 work to rest interval. In fact, to build explosive power and speed on the ice, you should be doing almost the opposite 1:5 work:rest interval.

For explosive power (plyometric) training, the work interval should be 10 seconds or less. If you do not believe me, then do two minutes and 30 seconds straight of jumping or sprinting or a combination of both and tell me how high you are jumping or how fast you are travelling after only 60 seconds, much less 150 seconds.

It is basic physiology people.

I could continue to comment on the biomechanics of some of the exercises and how they could over time contribute to overuse injuries like disc herniations, but I think that could be said for a lot of the training programs out there and even the protocols used by lots of so-called professional trainers out there, so I won’t go down that path.

Basically, it is up to you to decide what you want to get out of your training. If being the best goalie you can be and reducing your risk of injury is a priority, then I think you could do much, much better than p90X.

If you are more of a fitness enthusiast who is looking for a good challenge and more of a fat loss program, then I think you might be very happy with it. Just be sure to start a little slow and really listen to your body, there are some exercises that you should probably leave out to reduce your risk of injury.

Dryland goalie trainer Maria Mountain

Hockey strength and conditioning coach Maria Mountain, MSc specializes in off-ice training for hockey goalies. As the founder of and the owner of Revolution Sport Conditioning in London, Ontario, Maria has trained Olympic Gold medalists, a Stanley Cup Champ and athletes from MLB, NHL, AHL, CHL, CIS and more.

You can get a FREE 14-Day Flexibility program for goalies HERE!

About The Author

Maria Mountain M.Sc.

Hockey strength and conditioning coach Maria Mountain, MSc specializes in off-ice training for hockey goalies. As the founder of and the owner of Revolution Sport Conditioning in London, Ontario, Maria has trained Olympic Gold medalists, a Stanley Cup Champ and athletes from MLB, NHL, AHL, CHL, CIS and more. Try Maria's Goalie Stretch Solution today.


  1. Dan

    i did insanity and i noticed an improvement in my explosive strength playing goal, and endurance (playing basketball all day or playing out for an hour and a half open hockey session). do you have any thoughts about that program?

    • Maria Mountain

      Similar to the above – it is a great (and very challenging) fitness program and as you stated you felt definite improvements in your overall fitness, which is awesome!

      Is it the best way to train as a goalie? No, but I get the sense that was not your number one priority. Your goal was to feel better on the ice, have more fitness for basketball or skating out for open hockey, etc and it sounds like you enjoyed it as well, so that is great.