Gary Roberts

Some Great Exercises from Gary Roberts

Gary Roberts is one of the most respected trainers in the hockey world. After a very impressive and lengthy playing career, Roberts has taken his passion for health and fitness into a coaching role. He works with several of the NHL’s best players each summer, including Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Below are a few great exercises – and these are not just for hockey players.

1) Landmine Shoulder Press

I wrote about this one a few weeks ago. It is a phenomenal shoulder exercise for many reasons.

The Half-kneeling variation is a fantastic way to make an exercise more functional and safe. It reduces the load placed on your low back while at the same time challenging your abdominals and obliques (as well as your hip stability). Any time you can lift less weight while working just as hard – that is a good thing. If you are able to press 60′s or 70′s while seated, you may have to step back to 40′s or 50′s for this one until your stabilizing muscles can catch up.

2) Bulgarian Split Squat (or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat)

At the 0:28 mark:

This exercises really challenges each leg from a power and stability perspective. It is a “safer” variation if squats give your hips or knees problems, and it is also more functional for many sports as it incorporates more single leg loading. Single leg strength almost always transfers over to double leg strength, too. This lift will help you run faster, jump higher, squat more, and on and on.

3) Trap Bar Deadlift

Start at the 1:42 mark:

Another lift I have written about before. Why is this such a great exercise? Besides being a safer variation than the straight-bar deadlift for most people, it works your entire body and improves power, strength, muscle mass… pretty much everything.

  1. Step inside the bar. Make sure your feet are centered from the front and back of the two bars. As you bend down to grab the handles, stick your hips back while keeping your chest up.
  2. A good cue here – pretend you have a logo on your shirt that you want to display to anyone in front of you – this forces you to keep good posture throughout your upper body. Take a deep belly breath, stabilize your body. Bend your knees a bit, but not a lot.
  3. Pull your shoulder blades back and down. Another good cue to keep those hips back – imagine someone has a belt around your waist and is pulling you from behind. This is a hip dominant movement, not a knee dominant movement.
  4. As you pull the bar up, drive through your feet, straighten your knees and hips, and squeeze your glutes and lats at the top of the movement. Return the weight down (again, hips back, chest up), and repeat.

 4) Core Exercises

Roberts posted this clip with three great core exercises.

Exercise 1: TRX knee tucks. This exercise challenges your core through its ability to resist extension (your back breaking inwards).

Exercise 2: Paloff press. Your core works to resist any rotation – a great exercise for your obliques in particular. You can go fairly heavy here while keeping your back in a safe and upright position.

Exercise 3: Bridge. Adding some movement to a bridge/plank is a great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise without putting your back in a bad spot.

I would say the above exercises from Gary Roberts could form the foundation for a great workout. You have an upper body pressing movement, a full body pulling movement, a lower body pressing movement, and a series of great exercises for your core. The commonality among these exercises is that they are safer and more functional versions of very popular exercises. As I have said before, any time you can lessen the external load while still really challenging your body… that is a good thing.

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