Off Ice Training with Travis Martell

Martell Elite Fitness takes youth development very seriously. And having the opportunity to work with Bardown Training to provide appropriate dryland training for their youth athletes was a perfect fit for us. 

We believe that the old adage of “resistance training is bad for kids” still exists and to be quite frank, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In 2018 Avery V Faigenbaum (Youth Resistance Training: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly-The Year That Was 2017)  explained that “youth with low levels of muscular fitness tend to become weak adults who are at increased risk for functional limitations and adverse health outcomes”. In this study they were only referring to general youth. So when we look at the youth that we’re working with that play hockey, it’s even more imperative that they start a safe training program at a young age. This will help them develop a strong foundation that they can build on as they continue to progress through their athletic development.

Often a common fear of parents is the misconception that training always involves the kids performing repetitive exercises with heavy weights. Resistance training and weight training are two different things. Parents fear that if their kids start training at a young age they’ll damage the growth plates on their bones and it’ll stunt their growth. When implemented appropriately, training, whether resistance or weight based is not harmful to youth development.


Our philosophy when it comes to youth training is to build a strong foundation and this is accomplished by getting the athletes to understand how their body works and moves. With the environment that we live in nowadays, it’s safe to say that most kids aren’t as active as they once were. With more technology available, kids are spending more time on their phones and their gaming devices than before and they aren’t doing as much “active play” as they were even 5 years ago. Because of this, more kids have muscular asymmetries. This is caused by a lack of athletic activity outside their main sport. Most of the young athletes we work with only play hockey and they are also playing it 12 months of the year. While it’s important to develop the skills of their sport, they are doing it at a cost, and creating a huge imbalance within their body.

We understand that kids love hockey and that’s what they want to do, rather than fight them on this we’re going to help them. To help undo the imbalances these young hockey players are creating, we focus a lot of our training on stability work and unilateral training (one side of the body at a time). We’ve customized the training space to allow us coaches to challenge the players in a safe and effective way to promote proper strength gains. When most people think of strength gains they think lifting more weight (ie. Squat and Deadlift). We look at strength gains as improving the ability to perform a more challenging task. Hockey is a very challenging sport and requires a lot of unique abilities to perform it well. Everything we do with our athletes in the gym develops the appropriate strength that transfers to the game of hockey so the kids can perform more efficiently and effectively on the ice.

Martell Elite Fitness focuses on improving the functionality of each and every athlete that we work with. Our goal is to create a fun training enviorment that allow kids to feel comfortable and confident thus allowing them to maximize their development. This environment creates healthy habits and sets them up for long-term success.



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