Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.

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Iron Deficiency

Posted by on in Youth Strength & Conditioning
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Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body.  I’m not talking anemia, hemoglobin, red meat or oxygen transport; I’m talking about barbells, dumbbells, and free weights.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with parents who are concerned that young 13-year-old Tommy who plays hockey, one of the most physically intimidating, bone crunching sports in the world is concerned that weight training may cause adverse effects.  Never mind that young Tommy is built like a coat hanger, can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag and that the organized chaotic demands of hockey stress a young body far more than a well organized, structured strength and conditioning program.  This leads to a condition I refer to as Iron Deficiency.  Iron deficiency is a dangerous condition where the musculoskeletal system is not prepared to meet the demands of the stress imposed on it.  It affects a large majority of the youth population who spend the summer’s playing Nintendo, running long distances, and engaging in non-external resistance training such as boxing, MMA and Insanity.


The Cure

The cure for this condition is a well-structured, organized strength and conditioning program. Keep in mind that hockey is an uncontrolled environment where players can reach speeds of up to 28 mph; bodies are flying, stopping, starting, accelerating, changing direction, giving and absorbing high impact forces.  Here are a few controlled variables that allow the strength coach to rid the athlete of iron deficiency. 


Strength Training Variables

  • Intensity (load, velocity)
  • Volume
  • Exposure
  • Frequency
  • Range of Motion (regressions)
  • “Minimal Effective Dose.”
  • Wolff’s Law (1836-1902) states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.  (Controlled vs. Chaos)

Let’s take back the adverse affects of iron deficiency and build stronger, more durable athletes.  If we expect young Tommy to compete in a sport such as hockey than he needs to be prepared for the demands of the game.  Lack of foundational strength can lead to many problems down the road.  A controlled, well-organized strength and conditioning plan is paramount in conquering this preventable condition known as iron deficiency!

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