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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Strength Training, Recipes and Restaurants: It’s all about the Menu

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Program design fascinates me!   So many unique elements make up the system that seeks to elicit results for various client populations. It takes years to master and is continuously under construction. As the saying goes, the best program is the one that you’re not currently on. Coach Boyle wrote an excellent article last year called “Should You Stick to the Recipe?”   This article is perfect for young, intermediate coaches who seek to build their own programs/recipes. The evolutionary stages of cook, sous-chef, and finally head chef are excellent analogies pertaining to learning the science of program design. Another important element is the menu. Once the recipe is mastered, there needs to be a menu set in place for your customers. What happens if a certain customer doesn’t eat red meat (they can’t squat) or is a vegetarian (had shoulder surgery)? Menu planning is an art. Here are the three stages of designing your own strength and conditioning menu. As Coaches, our goal is to design a menu that fits the needs of our customers.


Fast Food Menu:

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Your recipe may not taste good to everyone. What if a client has a food allergy (post knee surgery)? One food wonders don’t have many choices on the menu, therefore cannot adapt to fit the needs of their customers. There are no progressions/regressions. Fast food menus look like this. If all you have is hamburgers, what happens if someone is looking for salad?


Buffet Style Menu:

Too much choice can confuse our customers, not to mention we as coaches! I am a HUGE fan of the Functional Movement Screen, but I think too many Coaches use it to diagnose and prescribe, not as an indication of risk. This leads to a confusing menu of “corrective exercise” and therapeutic modalities. A menu with 1000 choices may not be good for business. Wouldn’t you feel overburdened and confused as a customer? How do you know what works or tastes good when too many choices are placed in front of you?


Fine Dinning Menu:

Fine dinning adapts! Their menus are built on years of customer feedback and quality service. Steaks can be ordered rare, medium and well done. Salads have various dressings, vegetarians can order specialty plates, and wine lists are long and distinguished to suite the unique needs of their customers. This is a quality menu! A menu built to adapt. Adaptation is an art.

Strength and Conditioning is no different. I have seen excellent recipes and terrible menus because coaches cannot adapt. Having an adequate regression/progression for each and every exercise creates a solid menu for your customers. It also allows for a fine dining experience and repeat business.  Once your recipe is mastered, it’s important to realize that it may not taste good to everyone. The important lesson is to adapt and create a menu built on the needs and potential speed bumps that may occur during the duration of your program. Designing recipes is a science, creating a menu is an art! Remember, your hamburger recipe renders itself useless when someone is looking for a salad.


Anthony Donskov, MS, CSCS, PES, is a former collegiate and professional hockey player, founder of Donskov Strength and Conditioning Inc., ( and Head Instructor/Director of Off-Ice Strength and Conditioning for Donskov Hockey Development ( He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




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