USA Blind Hockey Brief ‘Hockey Strong’ Series: Dave Klenk, Team USA

This is the fourth installment of our ‘Hockey Strong’ series which will be continued for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. November’s feature is from Dave Klenk, member of Team USA.


Dave Klenk, United States Blind Hockey Team

Dave is all smiles after a game with son Cal in his arms.

USA Blind Hockey Brief – First, I love the name “Hockey Strong”. This year has been filled with some weird obstacles we never imagined or were prepared for. The last time I was on the ice was February in Minnesota. This has presented me with some challenges regarding focus and motivation for hockey. I watch what Team USA posts and Canada Blind Hockey which helps remind me what we are doing. I still have the taste from Team USA’s loss in Ottawa in my mouth and I use this when I do not feel like pushing myself in workouts.

I miss the team and playing hockey. When it is clear and we can all play again, I want to step out onto the ice better, faster, and stronger.

Let’s talk about CrossFit!  My gym has only been half open since late summer and recently just shut back down. That is not an excuse. I have done most workouts from home. The reason CrossFit works for me is the high intensity and ever-changing workouts. You rarely do the same workout once a year. The workouts that you do each year or quarter are called “benchmarks” to measure your gains. But you do not have to go all out every day, listen to your body and do what you can. But try to move every day. I schedule my workouts at 11:00am every workday which works best for me. I finish with my 10:00am appointment, my home office is literally in my workout space, so I change and jump into the workout of the day.

Below are 3 recommendations I use daily to keep me focused and healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Recommendation #1

Get organized. Some of us must use schedules to work. A schedule, even a loose one, will make you more productive and functional. As you schedule your day, schedule your workout as well so you know exactly what you are doing. CrossFit is so great because you use time as a motivator and coach. Since I only have about 45 minutes to workout, the clock is a helpful tool to keep my heart rate up and keep me on schedule.  An example is this: 8 minute warm up, 4 rounds of 10 air squats, 15 push ups, 20 jump jacks or jump rope, and plank or handstand hold 20 seconds. There are some apps (e.g., SmartWod) that beep on time changes which helps move to the next movement. This is good especially if you cannot see the clock. Once you are warmed up, do 20 minutes as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of 5 pull ups or rows, 10 pushups and 20 air squats. This workout is called Cindy and is a benchmark workout. But if you have favorite movements you like, use the time scheme as an example and get creative. With the remaining time I will usually stretch, ride, or run and do some stick handling. I have a thousand workouts if anyone wants more information. My favorite lift is the power clean. You can Google it – it is great for hockey hip strength. You can use dumbbells or barbells.

Recommendation #2 

Get a support network. This is important because what is the point of doing CrossFit if you don’t have anyone to talk to about CrossFit? I have several group chats in which we talk daily regarding our daily workout, sports, entertainment, or whatever else. If I don’t get to see my friends and family, I can bridge this with daily communication. One of the benefits is if someone in the thread is having a bad day or workout, you can help. Vis versa, they can pick you up when you are down.  Also, if you are tired of the same workout or need some spice, you can rely on your network for ideas. I was talking with another team member and he is a big proponent of Insanity workouts, so I tried it. That was awesome and I incorporate it every now and then as a reminder of how bad my cardio is.

Recommendation #3

Remember why you are staying fit and healthy. Just like therapy, what is the “why”? Obviously we want to be better hockey players, beat Canada, and win the World Cup. But what is your personal why? Mine is health. Hockey gave me an extra charge to double down on my fitness and health. I work out at least 5 days a week and am changing my diet. Hockey is a big part of this, but it is not the only thing. My wife, Jess, and I are expecting our third child this spring. It’s a boy! I will have three sons to chase after. I will want to be with them as much as possible. This means being in the best shape to keep up with them now and live a long healthy life with them.

I want to thank Charlie and Katie Mitchell, and all involved for keeping up the newsletter. It is good to keep in touch and get updates. I appreciated the calls and texts between the team. Do not be afraid to share good news or bad. Soon enough we will all be back on the ice and this will seem like a blip in our memories (hopefully). Stay healthy, Stay Safe – See you all soon!

Some fun workouts to try:

  1. 7 minutes of burpees! (be really warmed up)
  2. Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes of 12 dumbbell lunge 5 air squats
  3. Fight gone bad, every minute switch to new movement: 20 minutes, minute 1 ride or run, minute 2 push ups, minute 3 air squats, minute 4 kettlebell/dumbbell swings, minute 5 rest. Go as hard as you can for maximum repetitions.


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