Today I’m writing about one of the most debated topics in the fitness industry over the past 10 years, core training. Long gone are the days of banging out a couple hundred sit ups during the off season to “tone up the abs”. Studies have shown that repeated flexion cycles (such a sit-ups) are non-optimal for improving core function and furthermore can be harmful to your lower back.  Here are 4 alternate core training exercises that we like to use with our players throughout their summer training program:

The first exercise, known as the bird dog, helps teach brain how to co-contract the glute, obliques, rectus abdominal (6 pack muscle) and lower back muscles all at the same time.  It is crucial for beginners, intermediate and even some advanced lifters to incorporate this exercise into their program before starting to lift some serious weight.  Start with 3 sets of 5 reps on each side, make sure to hold each rep for 5-10 seconds.

The next exercise is as alternate for sit-ups because it targets the same muscle,  your rectus abdominus. A big advantage to this exercise is it keeps the spine in a neutral posture thus minimizing the risk of a lower back injury. I call these one “ring supermans”. For beginners it is better to start this exercise from your knees and then work your way up to doing them on your feet. You can use Olympic rings, a TRX or if you don’t have either of those simply walk your hands out as far as possible without collapsing. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps; this exercise is a much more challenging core workout, but has many benefits. Line yourself up in a pushup position with hands directly underneath the shoulder joint, flat back, head in line with spine and squeeze your glutes. From here you are going to reach your arms out in front of you as far as you can go without letting your hips drop or your upper body slide forward. You’ll notice that as the arms reach out in front, the upper body remains still and the core stays contracted the whole time.

The last exercise is a very hockey specific exercise known as rotational medicine ball tosses. Rotational exercises such as this one can be very beneficial in improving ones overall wrist shot and slap shot power. When performing this exercise it is imperative that the rotation comes from the hips and not the lower back. Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps on each side. This exercise requires a lot of power from the obliques and hip flexors. It can be performed with a partner or up against a hard wall. Start off by standing approximately 10 feet away from the wall with feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in knees and back up tall. You are going to shift your weight into your back leg as you reach and twist to the side. Then you are going to rotate that back leg forward as you pivot and throw the ball against the wall. All the power here is coming from the hips and core muscles so make sure not to try and over power them with your arms. This is a very explosive exercise and should be done using maximal force.

Give these a try and let me know what you think. Stayed tuned for my next blog post which we’ll be titled “If I could only use 5 exercises to create an off-ice program which would they be?”.

Jake Wright |  @JakeTLaFREAK | Follow Greco Kanata North on Twitter! @GrecoKanata

First off, I would like to give you guys a little introduction into who I am and what I do. My name is Jake Wright I am one of the head trainers at Greco Lean & Fit Kanata in Ottawa, Ontario. I have been training hockey players for over 6 years now and have worked with the likes of Claude Giroux, Dan Boyle and Mike Fisher to name a few. I got into the business of training when I was a young aspiring hockey player and was consistently being told by coaches I was to small and not strong enough. As my hockey career started to dwindle I decided to take my passion for hockey and focus it more towards the training aspect. I studied kinesiology at the University of Waterloo for 4 years and am now a certified strength and condition specialist through the NSCA.

Each summer that I’ve worked for Greco we’ve had the pleasure of running the off-ice portion of the Octagon Hockey Camp. Octagon is one of the biggest sports agencies in the world and each summer they host a camp to get an in depth look at how some of their top hockey prospects are developing. The camp is 5 days long where the players skate twice a day, workout once a day and participate in workshops such as nutritional education, equipment showcases and media training.

This years camp which was held at the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Rockland, Ontario which hosted over 45 of the worlds top hockey prospects between the ages of 14-16 years old. The players participated in five different workouts: one day of resistance and core training, one day of speed and agility, one day of conditioning with sleds and sprints, one day of body weight training and the final day being yoga.

One thing that was evident from this camp is that some players are born willing to work while others act as if they’ve already made the show. Each and everyone of these players has the talent to do something with their hockey careers but it’s the guys who are willing to give it everything they have are the players who are going to be successful. My advice to all the young upcoming players out there is to never take your training and conditioning for granted. Never hold back whether your doing suicides on the ice, shooting pucks at your garage, squatting in the gym, running sprints at the soccer field or waking up and cranking out 100 pushups before you start your day. The harder your work the more it will pay off the longer you will get to enjoy the beautiful game of hockey.

Jake Wright |  @JakeTLaFREAK | Follow Greco Kanata North on Twitter! @GrecoKanata

We are proud to launch Tony Greco’s Official Celebrity Website!

Packed with Videos, Media and all things associated with Tony Greco!

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here! We were amazed to finally preview the off-ice training video of Tony Greco and Claude Giroux. Mediaball and Miv Photography did a fabulous job!



This is an inspirational book featuring NHL All Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Boyle. In this book, Dan writes about his experiences and struggles throughout his NHL career, and how he achieved his great success! 

Dan Boyle also Trains Like a Freak! with Tony Greco at one of his Schools in the Summer’s Off-Ice Hockey Training and Conditioning Program. Proceeds of this book will go to the Foundation to Fight Obesity in Children

To purchase, please click here!

On a Wednesday in suburban Kanata, the air is fresh, a carryover from a welcome cool night, the mid-morning sun not yet burning hot.

Tell it to the six hockey players inside the Greco training facility, sweat rolling off their faces as they dance along a floor ladder (think about old schoolyard games of hop scotch), music pounding in their ears so loud it’s impossible to think. (That’s generally good, when hockey players aren’t thinking). Ripping through the ladder, dancing in and out of the squares, at three-quarters speed, on the heels of 30 minutes of dynamic weightlifting exercises, would be tough enough.

But Tony Greco and his fellow instructors – one per player at this session – turn the ladder into a gauntlet, literally pushing the players during the footwork drills, calling on their core strength to maintain balance. Now they’re yanking on the players via straps lassoed around the shoulders. Makes sense. Being pushed and pulled while trying to execute a skill is a lot like hockey isn’t it?

“You can always do better than you think you can,” bellows Tony Greco above the blaring music. “Give it! Give it!”

To enhance effort, he talks tough during the sessions, but afterward he sits on the gym apparel and chats easily with these players, who range from an established NHLer like Claude Giroux to others looking to get to another level.

“It sucks while you’re here, but the results are worth it,” says Calvin de Haan, a 20-year-old defenceman from Carp drafted 12th overall by the New York Islanders in 2009. “I really enjoy working with Tony and the other trainers here are great as well.”

Read more of the Ottawa Citizen Story…

Real video of one of our Train Like a Freak! Workouts.. yes, the participants are SWEATING!!!
For more videos, please see our YouTube Channel

Any athlete can benefit from this program. Most recently Scott Mitchell, 2nd overall pick of the Edmonton Eskimos (CFL); has been participating in the Greco Train Like a Freak Program. This program is no longer exclusive to  elite hockey players, but for all sports such as football as well.

In the photo from left to right; Jake (trainer), Jason Bailey (NHL), Adam (trainer) and Scott Mitchell. 

Click here to view a video of Scott Mitchell Training Like a Freak with Adam.

Apr 30, 6:06pm. Claude Giroux leads the Philadelphia Flyers with nine points in seven playoff games. Giroux registered six assists … Those eight points currently have him as the leading scorer in the post season heading into Monday night’s action. Giroux has one goal and 10 helpers in eight contests as his playmaking skills have been on full display. During the regular season he finished eighth overall with 51 assists.


  • Winner of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP
  • Winner of the Gene Hart Memorial Award (player who demonstrated the most “Heart” during the season, voted by the fan club)
  • Giroux led the Flyers in points (76) and assists (51) … He also recorded 25 goals (a new career high) while appearing in all 82 regular season games, up from his total of 16 goals, 31 assists and 47 points a year ago … His 51 assists are the most by a Flyer in a single season since Peter Forsberg posted 56 in 2005-06
  • Giroux is only the eighth Flyer overall, and sixth different player, to reach the 70-point plateau since the lockout (05-06 Gagne, Forsberg; 07-08 Richards, Briere; 08-09 Carter, Richards, Gagne)
  • Giroux led the Flyers in the playoffs in assists (11) and points (12) in 11 games.


Greco Train Like a Freak! Our Off Ice Hockey Conditioning Train Like an All Star, THIS SUMMER!

  • Increase acceleration throughhip mobility and increased power
  • Improve shot power by maximizing your hip, torso
  • Develop durability to withstand the impact of physical play
  • Enhance speed and agility on ice
  • Build athleticism by applying your body’s and shoulder rotation strength through its entire range of motion

For more information, click here!

/A\ Morning’s Lianne Laing chats with one of the finalists in the Red Bull Crashed Ice event.

Announcing New Greco clothing Available at New Balance Ottawa!

Featuring men and women’s comfortable tees and hoodies. To see more of the Greco New Balance Clothing, click here.

Please visit New Balance Ottawa  located in College Square to purchase and for even more details. Enjoy!

Greco Train Like a Freak! Our Off Ice Hockey Training and Conditioning Program is now on!

  • Increase acceleration throughhip mobility and increased power
  • Improve shot power by maximizing your hip, torso
  • Develop durability to withstand the impact of physical play
  • Enhance speed and agility on ice
  • Build athleticism by applying your body’s and shoulder rotation strength through its entire range of motion

For more information, click here ! Visit our sister website

PHILADELPHIA – It was sometime during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette began to realize just how special a player forward Claude Giroux really was.
In only his second playoff season, Giroux finished third on the team with 21 points, including 10 goals, in 23 games. An eye-opening display for sure and, in Laviolette’s mind, a performance that probably catapulted him into elite company.
“I would say that he’s not among those second-tier players anymore,” Laviolette said when asked where Giroux stood in the mix of elite and second-tier players in the League.
“He’s somebody we count on to play in every situation and he’s proving himself to be a clutch player,” he continued. “He’s had big games in playoffs and big games when you need a performance out of somebody. He’s seems to be stepping up.”


Train like a junior freak kanata location, July 2010Greco’s Kanata  launches an off ice hockey training camp for kids aged 8-14.

Five week sessions start July 20th, 2010 and will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information click here.

Train like a Junior Freak!!!

Greco Off-Ice Training for Boys and Girls starts this Saturday, June 5th at 11:30am for children Ages 8-14 years. Please contact the Kanata Location to enroll.

MikeFisher_OffIceHockeyTrainingGet to GRECO this off season for Professional Off-Ice Hockey Training!

Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers speaks about his experience with the Greco Off-Ice Hockey Training program:

Register Online or Contact us for more information!

This is just a preview of our new Off-Ice training video which is now available! Train with pro NHL Athletes, following this Video and get PUMPED Up!!