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Yard Athletics was founded in 2015 by Ilan Cumberbirch, however, the journey began years prior when a young boy would watch his father train; chalk floating through the dimly lit basement, the damp, musky air palpable, the ring of iron plates clanging, 90's Jock Jams pounding through the Walkman stereo.
Fast forward a decade, a 14 year old Ilan would find himself pursuing a hockey career where the off-season training regime turned into a full time job. After a summer of 2 hour training sessions, followed by on-ice work, 5 days/week; Ilan witnessed first hand the positive impact a consistent, periodized training program can have on an individual's physical acumen, as well as their own self confidence and mental well being. Ilan grew to relish his off-seasons as he thrived in the weight room, arguably applying too much time and effort there, and not enough towards his on-ice skill set!
Fast forward another decade, Ilan finds himself on the tail end of his hockey career. A Bachelor's of Kinesiology degree from UBC, NSCA CSCS certification, and a year of professional hockey overseas under his belt; he pursues his aspirations of one day opening his own world-class Strength & Conditioning facility and joins Factory Hockey Player Development. At the time, Factory Hockey, was the marquis, one-stop shop for local NHL talent seeking on and off-ice offseason work. This provided a unique opportunity to work with dozens of world-class athletes. Eventually, Ilan would branch off and establish Yard Athletics. The Yard's first clients in 2015 were a group of 4 pals that would train at 8AM 3 days/week for $25/head.
One morning, mid training session, one of the individuals jumped a top a plyo box, tore his shirt off and pronounced the space "The Bone Yard" due to the number of dumbbells scattered about the floor - hence the name of our signature Small Group Training offering. Ilan Cumberbirch and Sam Shaw would continue to operate the small business out of a shared space, eventually offering one Group Training session per week which was organized via a series of group texts. Individuals would receive the massive group texts and would reserve their spot on a first come, first serve basis. The days were long, the clients were sparse, but the bars were heavy, the music was loud, and the laughs were plentiful!