Face-Off Training: Be a Beast at the “X”

Face-Off Training: Be a Beast at the “X”

For Starters, I want to apologize because I should of written this article a very long time ago. I’ve received a ton of emails over the past few years asking for advice on training specifically for Face-off men.

I’ve written a lot of articles for the masses and for athletes in general. But this article is going to be special, it’s dedicated to my hard working colleagues who are proud to do the dirty work. There are thousands of people giving their “advice” all over the internet on what skills are important to face-off men and when it comes to that stuff I simply say, “To each his own.” But since I don’t personally know any other professional strength coaches who are also considered elite level FoGos I’m taking responsibility for helping all of you who desire to become healthier, stronger and more effective at our beloved X.

First, let’s kill a few myths that I’ve gotten pretty sick of.

1: There is no such thing as Sports specific training. Every athlete in every sport can and will benefit from the style of training that I talk about in this article. There is however SKILL specific training. This is when you add in specific things to help an athlete excel in his or her specific function. The beauty of being a FoGo is you need only to worry about being a well rounded, strong athlete.

2: You need to build your upper body. False, although it looks cute when you have big arms it means nothing when it comes to being an accomplished face-off man. Having strength throughout the entire body should be the focus.

3: You need to perform isolated forearm work to make your forearms stronger. False, To truly build forearm strength you need to pick up heavy crap i.e. during deadlift variations.

4: The bigger and stronger you are, the more effective you will be. FALSE, yes being strong can help you but size means nothing. In the land of the face-off SPEED kills not size.

Ok lets roll through a few principles that I believe in when it comes to my own strength and conditioning.


During my education at Penn State we spoke constantly about “prehabbing” injuries. This means that we would take an athlete’s personal inefficiencies and combine them with what risks their function(position) naturally entails and create a Prehab program for that athlete.

For example, early in my college career I had severe Low back issues (stress fracture of 2 vertebrae). Also, the FoGo position is very taxing on the low back, the knees, shoulders and wrists. So each and every day I would come into the weight room and along with my standard warm-up I would also perform specific exercises and stretches for all of those key areas in order to strengthen those joints and make them less susceptible to injury.

It’s extremely important to develop flexibility and strength in every joint in the body. The smaller and more intricate muscles of the joints may not be as exciting as the chest or arms but it’s much more important because no matter how big you are, you can’t play if you’re injured.


If you learn anything when it comes to your training it’s this principle right here. Men’s Health (middle aged men), Flex Magazine (steroid lovers), Runner’s World (runners, haha), etc. Were NOT written for athletes. They were certainly not written for lacrosse players and I know from experience nothing in those magazines was written to help a Face-off man. Training like an athlete is simple, train total body EVERY time you train. Until you can figure out how to face-off with just your Chest and Triceps on a Monday then stop doing the dumb ass bodybuilding splits. Now as much as I’d love to spend the next 40 pages explaining different types of workout regiments, I need to eat in a few minutes so let me just throw out some of my absolute favorite exercises and how I personally set up my own training split.

Continue reading about my core principles and routine by clicking here.
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