Ep.14 | Speed, Strength, and Conditioning with Stephen DiLustro

In this episode, Coach Andy talks with San Jose Strength Coach, Stephen DiLustro, on all things hockey training including long-term athletic development, age appropriate training, training for strength and speed, and much more!

Show Notes and Resources

Stephen DiLustro
San Jose Sharks Strength & Conditioning Coach

Coach Stephen DiLustro earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from UMass Lowell, followed by a Masters Degree in Teaching Education from the University of Arizona.
Growing up, he partook in all sports until high school where track and field became his main focus. Drawing inspiration from his uncle who was an avid gym user, Stephen observed early on that the work in the weight room directly transferred to better performance on the track. From there, the fitness industry became his calling and he landed his first Strength & Conditioning job at a local high school. The then went on to work as a Strength Coach at Brown University, University of Arizona, and Stanford University.

Following his time working with various university athletic programs, Coach DiLustro found himself frequently assisting San Jose Sharks Strength Coach Mike Potenza with team related training, eventually leading to a job offer as the Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach in 2018. Coach DiLustro recognizes Potenza as his most influential mentor in Strength & Conditioning.

Coach Andy and Coach DiLustro open the talk discussing buzzwords of the fitness industry like “Functional Training”, “Core Training”, “Sport Specific Training” – terms that are overused and vague, and therefore meaningless (though they sound good in sales and marketing). Coach DiLustro points out that athlete conditioning should include ALL energy systems and can certainly be sport focused.

Coach DiLustro then goes on to discuss the importance of having a long-term athletic development plan. He speaks about the importance of training within your training age and not skipping steps, as well as mastering the fundamentals.

He makes a point to reference people like Vladamir Zatsiorsky, Brandon Marcello, Tstvan Baylia and Joe Kenn, as major contributors to his training philosophy.

The conversation then shifts to the topic of speed and explosiveness training.  This is one of the most common requests in hockey training, which Coach DiLustro addresses in depth. He points out genetics can play a role in speed, but most players can OUTPERFORM GENETICS. Strength, he says, is the basis of all speed pointing Zatsiorsky’s Science and Practice of Strength Training as a resource in learn from in this regard.

In terms of personal training methods, some of Coach DiLustro’s favorites include:

  • Contrast Training (ie: 5 yard sled push followed by 10 yard sprint)
  • Equal parts unilateral and bilateral training in the weight room (ie: squats AND split squats)
  • Quality over Quantity

The more you practice speed work, the better you will get provided you train intelligently.

He mentions hill running is one of the best ways to develop speed as it teaches the skill of generating force by pushing into the ground – a necessity for hockey players. He mentions Mike Boyle’s Flying 10’s  and Cal Dietz’s Triphasic Training in reference to these topics.

Wrapping up, they two speak on the importance of mobility and stretching in Incredibly reducing injuries and prolonging careers. Coach DiLustro sheds light on the reality that hockey players are side dominant (right hand or left hand shot) which unavoidably creates imbalances.

He also touches on overuse injuries occurring from repetitive motion, such as striding. Proper attention and rehabilitation needs to be given to these areas especially during rigorous training periods and competition. He points to Kelly Starrett’s Becoming a Supple Leopard to address all areas of movement, flexibility, and rehabilitation.

Enjoy this episode with Coach Stephen DiLustro!

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