Sport-specific training was a label yet to be conceived two decades ago, but that trend has taken a 180-degree turn over the past few years.
Local personal trainer Terry McMahon was recently certified as a sport conditioning coach through Twist Conditioning, and has brought this specialized form of training to Fort Frances, offering one-on-one sessions that steer away from equipment and machines towards functional hands-on training.
“Bigger isn’t better anymore, and this is the stuff you have to do nowadays to compete,” McMahon said prior to an outdoor training session with Kyle Turgeon last week.
“You can’t just be a good hockey player without training properly anymore,” he stressed. “It’s a science now, and the off-season is even more important than the season.
“You aren’t going to grow during the season,” he explained. “You play how many games a week plus practices, and you might battle injuries, so there’s just too much stress on your body.
“The off-season is the time you should be working the hardest because that’s the optimal time to grow.”
The days of hockey players showing up to training camp with beer guts and expecting to work themselves back into condition on the ice is a thing of the past.
Twist Conditioning battles the off-season bulge by focusing on secondary fitness characteristics like anaerobic energetics, dynamic balance, speed, agility, quickness, multi-directional movement skills, muscle reactivity, and other attributes that contribute to making athletes more skillful and durable when they get into game action.
McMahon’s training sessions focus on drills that develop these attributes using parachutes, hurdles, harnesses and other resistance tools to activate lots of different muscles at the same time.
“It should help big-time,” Turgeon said between gulps of water during his first dryland session with McMahon.
“It’s different than in the gym because you do one exercise and it feels like it’s working everything.”
“Running for an hour or going for a 20-mile jog isn’t going to help you with hockey,” McMahon argued. “Hockey is mostly stopping and starting with quick bursts.”
A rundown of exercises Turgeon went through included hurdle jumps from a standstill, wind sprints with a parachute, speed ladder agility drills, and sprints using a speed harness with McMahon pulling against it.
McMahon, who also is a certified trainer under CanFitPro, said the move to a fitness-based career was a long time in the making.
“I got involved in fitness about seven years ago and it’s the only thing I’ve wanted to do ever since,” explained McMahon, who previously worked in construction.
“I wanted to take my life in another direction and figured I’d give it a shot,” he added. “You gotta do what you love.”
McMahon said staying ahead of the curve in an ever-changing fitness world is a continuous challenge—but one he relishes.
“I’m always reading. I’ve got a ton of books, DVDs, and magazines, and I actually went through them all and cut out all the good articles and scrapbooked them because you can’t have that many magazines sitting in your house,” he laughed.
“It’s always changing and you have to stay current and know what you are talking about.” McMahon can be reached at 276-1311 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org