FanPost

Sample hockey review

If anyone has any interest, this is a sample of a review article i had to write. You dont get the references or all of the work, or the edited copy because.....well just because. Anyway something to read about in the long offseason.

Introduction:

Ice hockey is a game that combines a high level of technical skill and high-intensity, intermittent bouts of exercise, characterized by fast skating and rapid changes in direction. Players need to execute high-level motor skills such as stick handling, passing and shooting, while contending with physical pressure and one-on-one collisions.

By developing a greater understanding of the physiological demands of the game, strength and conditioning professionals can more appropriately assess and train their players.

This article will be split into three sub-sections and will attempt to:

· Quantify the work undertaken during game play, so that exercise prescription can be

· Provide a sample five week program for an ice hockey player

· Discuss the mesocycle provided, in-depth.

Motion analysis

Time-motion analyses (TMA) uses video footage (post-hoc analysis) or global position systems (real time data) to determine patterns in play, distances covered by the players and velocities of movement [1]. This analytical approach of quantifying player movements, allows coaches and conditioning staff to develop tactics, counter-strategies and optimum conditioning of athletes [2], based on the exact parameters each athlete is subject to. Limited TMA research is available for ice hockey, and it should be considered that North American hockey rinks have different dimensions than Olympic and European ice. The following data was reported for games played in North America only, and do not include games having a 5 minute overtime period (for games ending in a tie after 3 periods).

The characteristics of forwards and defensemen while on the ice equate to a combined average distance of 5553meters covered per game. This consisted of ~39.7 seconds of uninterrupted playing time, followed by ~27.1 seconds of stoppage time, repeated ~2.3 times over per individual shift. However, significant contrasts were reported in the playing characteristics of forwards and defensemen[3]. Research indicates that defensemen can be on the ice for ~50% of the game compared to ~35% for forwards [4], with the actual playing time ranging between ~20.7 minutes for forwards and ~28.0 minutes for defensemen [3]. In addition to a greater total time on ice (+21.2%), defensemen play a greater number of shifts (+26.1%) and have a shorter recovery time than the forwards (-37.1%). Furthermore, forwards take longer shifts (+7.4%) with longer continuous playing time (+10.1%). The forwards also played at a faster pace than the defense by a significant margin, with their average velocity on the ice 61.6% greater per shift. It is worth noting that for both defensemen and forwards, time on ice, shift length, and stoppage time all increase over the three periods, while the average skating velocity decreases (-5.2%) [3].

Interestingly, the research pertaining to skating characteristics of forwards has highlighted that highest mean percentage of time on ice is spent in a two foot glide (39%) and in cruising strides (16.2%) [5]. Only 4.6% of a forwards time on the ice is spent in high intensity efforts, which has been supports previous researchers who reported that hockey players spend little time at high intensity during games [6]. Furthermore, the two foot glide was highly correlated with point scoring as the highest point scorers spent the most time in this position [5]. It was hypothesized that this was likely due to the two foot position being more stable and thus explosive changes of direction and maximum speed could be reached quicker.

Blood Lactate and Heart Rate Response to Game-Play

Attempts to quantify the metabolic demands of ice hockey have been largely confined to NCAA collegiate players. Researchers have collected heart rate and blood lactate responses, both after playing (3-8 minutes after each period had ceased [3]), and during the game itself (after each shift [7]). Post-period data analysis showed blood lactate values of 1.2 to 8.9 mmol.L-1, with lactate peaking after the first period, before gradually declining over the rest of the game [3].

The in-game data shows values ranging between 4.4 to 13.7 mmol.L-1, with a mean of 8.15 (standard deviation of 2.72) mmol.L-1. Furthermore, the in-game research highlighted that the highest blood lactate values were recorded in players on the ice during a 2-minute section of play where they were one man down (penalty kill). This also corresponded with the longest continuous work intervals (81 seconds). Small sample sizes have not allowed for regression analysis with in-game blood lactate data. However, descriptive statistics have shown an effect between longer work times and increased blood lactate recordings. This is in line with other researchers findings with regards to blood lactate [8, 9].

The heart rate response for forwards and defensemen has been reported to average 85% of maximum, while players are on the ice. However defensemen have been recorded as having an average heart rate of 10-15 beats per minute lower than forwards while on the ice [3]. They also have higher average off-ice heart rates [4], which is likely due to shorter recovery times [10].

The goaltender showed very little change in blood lactate values during the game. Interestingly a significant increase in glucose concentration was reported by the end of the 2nd and 3rd periods (+58%) [3].

Aerobic & Anaerobic Capacity

Ice hockey is a multifaceted sport requiring the use of all energy systems at different points in the game. It can be characterized by short explosive movements like blocking shots and checking opponents, which all draw heavily from the ATP-PC and glycolytic systems. As a result of the high use of the anaerobic systems, muscle glycogen depletion has been reported to decline by up to 80% during a game, in the m. vastus lateralis [11].

Differences between players are also seen. Forwards generally have a higher rate of energy expenditure than defensemen or goaltenders. This is due to them covering greater distance during the game[12] as they often race up and down the ice, to score as well as help out on defense. These on-ice movements are rapid by their nature, and place a high demand on the lactate system. While forwards have more anaerobic activity in their game, the overall lactate accumulation is similar for both player types[3], due to defensemen having less rest and thus less time to clear lactate. The reduced recovery time, combined with longer playing time and longer shift lengths, means that defensemen have a greater reliance on the aerobic system than forwards in general play.

The goaltending position is characterized by explosive movements, which are largely dominated by the ATP-PC system. This is particularly important when the ability to move into position to block shots in excess of 160km/h is taken into account. However, anaerobic glycolysis is important when the goaltender is holding a ready position for (relatively) long periods of time, or when required to make numerous save attempts within a single sequence of play.

Fatigue

Fatigue is an important consideration for the ice hockey player. The activity of skating utilizes all of the major muscle groups, and in addition the players have to contend with physical contact while making skill plays. Furthermore, the shift lengths taken in hockey do not allow for the full involvement of the aerobic energy system, and as such an anaerobic dependency is inevitable to ensure energy requirements are met. Extensive use of anaerobic glycolysis rapidly reduces muscle glycogen, which has been implicated in fatigue [13, 14].

Furthermore, ice hockey is regularly played indoors before large crowds, where the temperature and humidity can be higher than normal. The many layers of player clothing and protective equipment may also inhibit the evaporative cooling process of the body and thus, raising internal body temperature[15]. High body temperature could lead to player over-heating and fluid loss, and has been reported to be directly related to fatigue, and time to exhaustion[16]. The reduction in fluid due to excessive sweating could limit vascular plasma volume, impairing nutrient delivery to the working muscles, thus impairing the ability to work [17]. This is most important for forwards, as they routinely have a greater rate of energy expenditure than defensemen, as they tend to cover more distance during the game [12].

The degree to which fatigue compromises ice hockey performance is largely unknown at this time. However muscular force in the quadriceps muscle group has been shown to be reduced by 28% over a week of colligate hockey[18]. Furthermore, force does not reportedly recover to baseline in a 24 hour period [19]. A loss in ability to generate maximum force is likely to impact skills requiring peak force to be properly executed. This could be temporarily counteracted by increasing the amount of, or firing rate of, the motor units [20]. This in turn is likely to increase the rate of fatigue and further inhibit the ability to perform skillful dexterous movements and actions.

Current Training Practices

Strength and conditioning has long been considered important to the successful game play of ice hockey. Many studies have been performed on collegiate athletes, while only a small number have been completed on professional players. A survey study [21] undertaken within the NHL, highlighted current strength and conditioning practices performed around the league. Most teams performed the same modes of training, with only slight differences. Despite the similarity of training across the league, each player type was treated differently as distinct differences between defensemen, forwards and goaltenders, have been reported in the literature. Defensemen are taller and heavier [22], had the highest VO2peak, and have greater grip strength of all positions. Forwards are generally of younger age, and have the highest relative VO2peak. Goaltenders are shorter, have less body mass, a higher sum of skinfolds, lower VO2peak and better flexibility [22].

Anaerobic &Aerobic Conditioning

Both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems are in effect for each shift during an ice hockey game. While each system has a "specialty," they are each utilised to a greater or lesser extent depending on the intensity and/or duration of the activity. In ice hockey the aerobic system is largely used during recovery and submaximal work efforts. Training the aerobic system allows players to skate for longer at greater velocities, and recover quicker. This essentially raises the lactate threshold of the skeletal muscles, which allows players to perform at higher intensities before having to meet energy demands anaerobically, thus delaying the accumulation of lactic acid and preserving glycogen stores needed to produce explosive movements.

The different demands placed on upon defensemen and forwards dictate that they have slightly different focuses in their conditioning. Due to the shorter recovery periods and longer overall time on ice, defensemen require a greater aerobic base than forwards. As a result defensemen often do not cover the same distances as forwards (per game), and skate at a lower average velocity. However, defensemen are required to race to gather loose pucks, block shots and check the opposition, all movements that require explosive ability and tax the anaerobic energy systems. While the phosphocreatine system provides an initial energy source for maximum efforts (up to 10 seconds), such as explosive acceleration, body checking or shooting. However after this initial ~10 second burst, continuation requires the use of anaerobic glycolysis, which draws on the muscle glycogen/blood glucose stores. The glycolytic system is extremely important for hockey players, as this energy system can supply energy for up to 120 seconds, after peaking at ~30-45 seconds. For this reason the typical shift length is 45 seconds long, as excess lactic acid accumulates in the body and intensity decreases. Furthermore, lactic acid accumulation leads to slower rates of relaxation between contractions leading to slower movements, and thus adversely affects technique and skill based movements. Skating is particularly vulnerable to the effects of fatigue. Players need to maintain deep knee flexion, with hips low and the knee over the front foot, to change direction rapidly, and produce explosive acceleration [23]. However, as fatigue increases players often skating more upright[24], reducing the ability to produce powerful movements, and increasing the likelihood of being knocked over.

Strength & Power

Ice hockey requires the correct use of maximum and relative strength (relative to body weight). Maximum strength is often employed to initiate and withstand contact from other players when competing for the puck. Strength relative to body weight is important in developing speed, agility and quickness on the ice. Furthermore, eccentric strength in the lower limbs is of great importance, as players are required to constantly changing direction or stop instantly. A relatively high eccentric strength will reduce the risk of injury in these types of movements [25]. To this end, resistance training is commonly used and has been shown to increase muscular force production and mechanical power output [26, 27], increase muscular size [28-30] and even improve muscle endurance [31]. The different variables can be achieved by manipulating variables such as recovery time [32], movement patterns, volume [33], frequency and intensity [34] of training [35].

Increases in muscular force following resistance training have been attributed to alterations in the neural regulation of muscle activity [36, 37], while subsequent increases in force are reliant on adaptation to the musculo-skeletal system [38]. However, it has been suggested that while muscle architectural changes will occur in highly trained subject populations [39], changes in force output will likely be caused by changes in the nervous system [36]. With regard to neurological adaptations, resistance training has been reported to; increase motoneural output via improved descending neural drive, elevate motoneuron excitability and diminish presynaptic inhibition [40, 41]. Strength training in particular has been shown to reduce Ia-afferent presynaptic inhibition during the pre-stretch [42-44] and down regulate inhibitory Ib-interneurons by the Golgi Tendon Organ Ib-afferents during muscle-tendon recoil [43, 44]. Contributing to greater capability for forces to be transmitted through the muscle-tendon unit [45]. Furthermore, strength training has been reported to increase rate-coding and doublet firing. This increase in muscle activation has also been attributed to enhanced force production following high-intensity training mode [41, 46].

Resistance training has the ability to influence other training components such as speed, balance. This is generally expressed as explosive power. Mechanical power has been shown to be a distinguishing feature in determining success in many athletic endeavors [47] and thus emphasis has been placed on determining the optimal method of improving this variable. For speed-power athletes competing in sports requiring high force and high velocity movements (i.e. ice hockey), common practice is to perform high-load strength training or high velocity training (such as plyometric and ballistic exercise) [48-50], as these training modes each represent a part of the power equation:

Power = Force ´ Velocity

However, research suggests that adaptation to high loads and high velocity resistance training may be specific to a particular load and velocity of movement [51]. Thus there is a limited crossover effect to other portions of the force-velocity curve. Specifically, high load strength training will improve the high-force and not the high-velocity portion of the force-velocity curve, and training incorporating rapid movement speeds will have the similar effect of improving the high-velocity and not the high force portion of the curve. It is equally important to recognize that higher velocities of movement will inversely affect the amount of force that can be applied [52, 53]. It is therefore, crucial that resistance training practices are carefully manipulated to ensure optimal adaptive changes are produced.

Speed, Agility and Quickness

Speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) is of vital importance to a hockey player and are the culmination of good technique, strength, power and conditioning[24]. Considering that Ice hockey is a high-speed collision sport that is played on narrow base of support (skate blade) over ice, the ability to sustain dynamic balance (good technique) is vitally important to success. A skaters ability to produce peak impulse is reliant on his skating position, thus a more stable position allows for greater application of force, and movement speeds [23]. Furthermore, the ability to shift the center of gravity outside the base of support can allow for greater strides lengths to be taken, thus reaching a greater skating velocity [11, 24]. In addition, the nature of skating means that players are balanced on a single skate for a great deal of the game. The ability to pivot on a skate’s edge to change direction, and accelerate/decelerate rapidly.

Like sprinting (running) and increase in stride length and/or stride frequency will increase skating velocity. Theoretically, an increase in either stride length or frequency will lead to an increase in velocity and that both variables increase as maximum speed is approached [54, 55]. A rapid increase in stride frequency typically occurs during the acceleration phase, followed by more gradual increases in stride length [54], as athletes progress towards maximum speed. A negative interaction, however, has been reported between stride frequency and length, and that an increase in one will result in a decrease in the other [56]. Thus, an optimal combination of stride length and frequency should be determined for each individual, depending on anthropometry and training status, to produce maximum skating performance.

Player Monitoring

It has been reported that all NHL strength and conditioning coaches perform some form of physical testing on players [21], however not all coaches assessed the same parameters. This paper takes the stance that the monitoring of physical attributes should be undertaken on a daily basis, as part of regular training practices as opposed to dedicated testing sessions. This will be done in each session by the conditioning coach recording the results (i.e. power outputs, mass lifted, speed taken per sprint) for each set and repetition. The following variables are considered important for ice hockey performance, and should be assessed throughout the year:

· Sprint Time-For efficiency of time, and sport-specificity, it is best to measure acceleration, maximum speed and speed endurance in the same trials, although this is not necessary. Timing gates are the most reliable method of taking times, and require very little manpower to setup and administer. Due to the stop start nature of ice hockey, repeated speed testing, acceleration (from standing and moving starts) and change of direction tests are best performed.

· Strength Testing –Peak and relative (to body mass) strength has been shown to be a differentiating factor in producing peak velocities [57, 58]. This is likely due to the ‘stronger’ athlete being able to apply greater impulses, which has a positive correlationwithacceleration and maximum velocity [59-61].

· Vertical Jump Testing - Vertical jumping tests are common field tests to assess muscle functions, due to the simplicity of the equipment used, as well as the simple nature of the movements required to complete them. These jump tests can be performed with and without loading, and the data measured can be used to indicate the capacity of the muscle-tendon unit to perform work. The forces generated during vertical jumping are strongly correlated to maximum velocity[62]. In particular, the forces produced by the counter-movement and squat jumps are significantly correlated to acceleration [63-65].This higher correlation with accelerative forces may be due to the jump tests measuring relatively high forces, with a relatively slow rate of force development.

· Body Composition and Anthropometry - Ice hockey requires the ability to produce a high level of power, so consequently the body composition and anthropometric measurements of these athletes are measured frequently. Particular importance is placed on the lean mass (muscle) to adipose tissue (fat) ratio. This is simply because any extra mass carried by the athlete will either slow them down, or require them to perform more work. Thus power output is correlated to body composition [66]. The composition of the lower limbs (the working muscles) has been reported to be a useful predictor of running speed [67].Considering that skating is also lower limb dominant it is likely that lower limb composition would also be correlated to skating speed.

In addition player wellness monitoring should be undertaken on a daily basis. Utilising the performance data in conjunction with self-rated measures of wellness can help to determine if individuals have adequately recovered or are showing a positive or negative trend in performance. A positive trend in recorded measures can provide confidence in recovery methods and the training program, while a negative trend may indicate the need to adapt the training stimuli for the individual. Various methods of analysing recovery, including self-rated scales and perceived level of recovery questionnaires have been reported [68-70].

Recording of the quality of sleep, morning energy levels, morning body mass, daily fatigue levels, general muscle soreness and motivation (enthusiasm for training) are easily recordable and take very little time to do. An online form to record these variables should be provided so that athletes may submit these each morning prior to coming into work. In addition, the Rest-Q Sport questionnaire should be completed semi regularly (weekly or fortnightly) for each athlete. While most research has reported using the Rest-Q questionnaire after every training session, it is believed to be a general measure of training stress only [70].

Sample Ice Hockey Training Plan and Subsequent Justification

Many experts consider that skating is the most important skill to master in ice hockey performance. Thus a great deal of early training is directed at improving this facet of a players skill set. Research has shown moderate relationships between skating speed and body fat% [71]. Thus in addition to exercise and training, it should be noted that all skaters are required to reduce body fat percentages, by using a correct diet and supplement program.

Periodisation of an Ice Hockey Preseason

Periodisation can be defined as a planned variation in training modes on a periodic basis. The concept is to manipulate variables such as training load and intensity to elect optimal training adaptations, manage fatigue, and decrease injuries and over training. Current literature suggests that periodised training can positively affect strength and power gains in trained and untrained populations [72, 73].

It has been reported that 91.3% of NHL strength and conditioning coaches have periodised programs for their athletes, however they do not all follow the same methodologies [21].

The following is a sample from early pre-season training, for a wing player (forward). It has been broken into 4 week structured training blocks followed by an active recovery week. This active recovery week is a chance to reduce the regular loading on the player from the conditioning staff, as well as utilize different training parameters. This has been done to reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries. The excess time that would have been taken up with conditioning/strength training has been filled with extra coaching and skill games. This grants the line coaches greater access to the players, and granting a greater scope for skills and tactics. Furthermore, it is designed to decrease the risk of illness which has been shown to increase in lighter training weeks, following blocks of heavy training [74].

The increase in recovery time over the Friday-Sunday period is largely to do with man management, and producing an environment that players want to come to as they can maximize their time off. Essentially this provides a full weekend for the player every month, thus hopefully adding further enticement for free-agent players to sign with the club in the future.


Training Block #2 (6-10)

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

AM

830-845

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

RECOVERY DAY

845-930

CBSG's

On-Ice Repeated Speed

Tactics/Strategy

CBSG's

Off-Ice Conditioning

Yoga/Flexibility Training^^^

Break^

930-1000

Break

Break

Break

Break

Break

1000-1045

Upper-Body Weights

Lower-Limb Weights

Yoga/Flexibility Training^^^

Upper-Body Weights

Lower-Limb Weights

LUNCH^

1045-1300

LUNCH

LUNCH

RECOVERY

LUNCH

LUNCH

RECOVERY

PM

1300-1345

Skills (ES)

Skills (PP - 5 on 4)

Skills (ES)

Skills (PK - 5 on 4)

Break

1345-1400

Break

Break

Break

Break

1400-1445

On-Ice SAQ

University Testing^^

Open 1-on-1 Coaching

On-Ice SAQ

Figure 1. A four-week training block from early preseason (weeks 6-10). The tables represents the physical and skill based training the athletes are to undertake each week. The Table Key is as follows: ^ = Recovery & Supplement program, ^^ = External @ University, ^^^ = External Specialist Coaching, and H&W = Health and Wellness.


Active Recovery Week #1 (5)

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

AM

830-845

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

H&W Assessment

RECOVERY DAY

845-930

Skills (ES)

Skills (PP - 5 on 3)

Strong Man Training^^^

Skills (ES)

Skills (PK - 5 on 3)

RECOVERY DAY

Break^

930-1000

Break

Break

Break

Break

Break

1000-1045

CBSG's

CBSG's

Yoga/Flexibility Training^^^

CBSG's

CBSG's

LUNCH^

1045-1300

LUNCH

LUNCH

RECOVERY

LUNCH

LUNCH

PM

1300-1345

Conditioning Session #1

Speed Skating Training^^^

Tactics/Strategy

Conditioning Session #2

Break

1345-1400

Break

Break

Break

Recovery

1400-1445

Wrestling^^^

University Testing^^

Speed Skating Training^^^

Table 2. . An active recovery week from early preseason (week 11). This block typically comes after four weeks of regular structured training. The tables represents the physical and skill based training the athletes are to undertake each week. The Table Key is as follows: ^ = Recovery & Supplement program, ^^ = External @ University, ^^^ = External Specialist Coaching, and H&W = Health and Wellness.


The Justification for Conditioning

Anaerobic and Aerobic Training

The conditioning aspect in this sample of the overall program was deliberately slanted towards a high volume of on-ice skilled games. The rationale is that hockey is a skill-based sport, thus the players should learn to execute the skills required under extreme pressure and exhaustion. At this stage of preseason the games are to be played in a manner, so to increase peak V02, as it is positively correlated with many on-ice abilities [75].

Conditioning based skill games

Conditioning based skill games (CBSG’s) are generally small-sided games designed by the skill coaches and run by the conditioning staff. Depending on the variables the conditioning staff manipulating, playing surface can be increased/decreased or players numbers altered. The skill coaches also can determine whether an increased emphasis can be placed on offence or defence. CBSG’s attempt to mimic the speed, agility, quickness and decision making of a real game, and then produce an overload of the nominal bioenergetics used. Due to the confined spaces of a hockey rink, team heart rate systems are used in conjunction with session RPE to monitor individual player work rates.

CBSG’s have been shown to elicit a similar heart rate response to actual game play (approximately 90% of age adjusted heart rate maximum), producing a metabolic specificity. This has been suggested to improve the oxidative system as well and phosphogenresynthesis, thus improving aerobic/anaerobic conditioning [76]. In addition the sport-specific nature of CBSG’s may also decrease the risk of groin injuries sustained by NHL players during the pre-season phase of competition [77] by up to 3 times baseline measures.

Furthermore, CBSG’s have the added benefit of allowing coaches and players to trial new equipment during game scenarios. It is possible that changes in equipment can affect the performance of different skill sets, as well as decrease the injury rates incurred by players. Concussions account for approximately 14% of all hockey injuries[78], and that prior to the introduction of face masks and helmets, head and facial injuries made up at least 50% of all serious injuries in ice hockey[79, 80]. Seemingly, the majority of head and facial injuries are preventable by wearing a helmet fitted with a visor [81], as the visor helps to prevent facial injuries, in addition to complementing the helmet in attenuating head deceleration during impact. Alterations in skate design have can result in increased range of motion (5-9%) during dorsi/plantar-flexion as well as enhancing mean work and power outputs by up to 20%. These increases potentially optimize force generation during the skating stride [82] by allowing peak force generation to occur at a later stage of plantar-flexion.CBSG’s allow players to practice with new equipment in a simulated game environment, while the focus remains on physiological gains.

As a whole, CBSG’s are a critical part of the conditioning spectrum for ice hockey players. The multifaceted approach combining skills and physiological conditioning has been reported to reduce injury rates, improve aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, and allow for the practice of simple skills used in the game.

Repeated Speed and Off-Ice Conditioning

The ability to accelerate rapidly is a considered to be highly important in team sports. Maximum speed is also of great importance to the athlete, however this speed criterion is reached less in average match play as opposed to the ability to accelerate. The physical training programs developed for the team-sport athlete, needs to mimic the physiological demands of the sport [83]. The repeated speed component of our training block is designed to improve anaerobic conditioning and thus allowing the players to skate in "strong position for longer," as well as compete at higher intensities for a longer period of time.

The off-ice program is put in place to avoid mental fatigue that might be associated with seeing the same surroundings (the hockey rink) day in, day out. A sample plan has been provided (Table 3.) involving repeated sprints, however this is alternated between sprints, hill-running and cycle (ergo and road) work. All these exercise use similar muscle groups, but utilize them in slightly different firing sequences. This is included to reduce the likelihood of over use injuries that might be picked up from the repetitive skating movements. The sprint program we provided uses short distance, maximum velocity sprints performed multiple times. The distance and work per set was deliberately chosen as an overload on regular hockey shift distance/work. The follow through on each sprint is to reduce the likelihood of hamstring injuries incurred by rapid deceleration.


Sample Off-Ice Conditioning Program

Exercise

Between Rep Recovery

Between Set recovery

Total Distance (meters)

The Warm-Up

Jog 300m

N/A

N/A

300

Frontal Single-Leg Hop and Holds (in soft sand) 6 per leg x 3

Walk back to start point

N/A

Lateral Single-Leg Hop and Holds (in soft sand) 6 per leg x 3

Walk back to start point

N/A

Straight Lunge* 2x50m

N/A

N/A

100

A-Drill w/ pause 2x50m

N/A

N/A

100

Low CoG side-step 2x50m

N/A

N/A

100

Spiderman’s 2x50m

N/A

N/A

100

Vertical Bounding: 6 per leg x 6

Walk back to start point

N/A

Horizontal Bounding: 6 x 20m

Walk back to start point

N/A

120

Sprint throughs x50m (inc. Intensity every two): 2x50%, 2x60%, 2x70%, 2x80%, 2x90%, 2x100%

Walk back to start point

N/A

600

2 minute Light stretch (for player comfort)

N/A

N/A

N/A

The Drill

4 x (30m sprint + 30m stride through)

15 Sec

90 Seconds

240

4 x (30m sprint + 30m stride through)

15 Sec

90 Seconds

240

4 x (30m sprint + 30m stride through)

15 Sec

90 Seconds

240

4 x (30m sprint + 30m stride through)

15 Sec

90 Seconds

240

TOTAL DISTANCE COVERED IN SESSION

2380

Table 3. Sample of an off-ice conditioning plan involving repeated sprints. *straight lunges as opposed to the hockey lunges performed during resistance training sessions.

Resisted-Movement Training

Resisted sprint training is often performed as part of our on- and off-ice conditioning repeated speed sessions due to the highly movement-specific mode of resistance training. This mode of training is practiced on the assumption that a skill-specific movement pattern and velocity, when it is combined with an additional load, will maximize the transfer of training effect [51, 84, 85]. Thus, a general increase in force development, and the ability to produce greater mechanical power in the desired movement [86-88] is likely.An example of this type of training is resisted-sprint training. Resisted-sprint training is commonly used to improve force output in dynamic horizontal movements [89] and is practiced with the athlete sprinting with an additional resistance to their own body mass. This may be added via a: (a) weighted sled [90] or vest [91]; (b) speed parachute [92]; or (c) bungee cord.

Kinematic research performed on resisted-sprint training has shown the use of these devices may alter the angular mechanics of the trunk, thigh and knee angles [90-93], resulting in greater than normal thigh extension [91] and trunk flexion. Considering that high velocity forward skating can be characterized by a significant forward lean and low take off angle[6], this may potentiallyenhancement skating speed as it places the athlete in an optimal position to maximize propulsive forces [91]

There is some conjecture as to what the optimal loading is for producing gains in performance [94] although it has been recommended that the towing load should not be greater than 3.8% of the athletes body weight [95]. Although, this has been based on reports that running performance linearly decreases as external loading is increased [96], it is advisable that on-ice resisted-training should be used similarly to other explosive type resistance training modes. Thus, relatively light loads should be used to positively affect gross changes in muscular architecture and force outputs.

The Justification for Resistance Training

Resistance Training

Heavy resistance, or strength training, is a commonly practiced form of resistance training. This form of training involves lifting, pushing or pulling against a heavy or high resistance of >80% of the total weight an individual can lift a single time (repetition maximum – RM) [97]. As its name suggests, this mode of training has shown to be an effective method for increasing muscular strength [98].Athletes with greater maximum strength (relative to body weight) are able to apply greater ground reaction force and impulses. This is important due to the high correlation between impulse and rapid movement velocities[59-61].Electromyographic activity in the lower limbs during maximum speed skating shows similar activation levels of both the m. vastuslateralis and m. bicep femoris (85% and 89% of maximal voluntary contraction respectively)[99]. Thus the sample program utilizes exercises such as the back squat over the front squat, which is predominately quadriceps dominant.

However, while strength training is a large part of our program, it is traditionally performed at relatively low velocities of movement due to the large external load to be overcome. Therefore this method of training does not entirely satisfy specificity of movement velocity, which is important in training athletic movements. Therefore, we have included the following:

High Velocity Resistance Training

Athletes competing in sports requiring the production of high forces during high-speed movements often utilize higher velocity resistance training. The load to be moved, and thus the velocity of movement, during the exercise can be manipulated to reflect the portion of the force-velocity curve desired to be trained. For the early cycle of our preseason, these movements will generally performed with resistances of 100] so that the load is moved as quickly as possible. This reflects the rapid movements required during hockey game play.

Weightlifting

The inherent nature of weightlifting movements creates potential for the production of high power outputs across a continuum of loading conditions. However in accordance with the principle of specificity, lighter loads and thus higher velocity movements (i.e. snatch as opposed to clean), are more efficient at producing a power profile similar to those produced during rapid athletic movements [101, 102]. It has been shown to produce high forces at relatively high movement speeds [103-106] and thus has become increasingly popular in training programs to improve athletic performance.

During weightlifting movements, the lifter essentially moves a load from the ground to an over head position by performing a powerful concentric extension of the hip, knee and ankle joints [107]. This ‘triple extension’ will often produce sufficient power to project the lifter into the air [101, 108]. The ballistic nature of weightlifting maximizes the vertical acceleration of the load being lifted, without the deceleration of resulting from eccentric actions of antagonist muscle groups [103].

While the majority of the weightlifting action requires concentric muscle actions, the mechanism for absorbing impact during the receiving or ‘catch’ phase has an eccentric component to it, when the movement is performed under heavy loading. This eccentric phase is not dissimilar to that of the weighted squat jump, however the displacement of the bodies center of gravity is much less during the weightlifting exercises [105]. It is likely that the eccentric catch phase will have a positive affect of reducing soft tissue injuries, based on the other researchers reporting on team sport athletes[25].

Ballistic Exercise

Ballistic exercise refers to a training mode in which the lifter attempts to move an external load as rapidly as possible, through the entirety of the movement [109]. This means that at the end of the movement the load is thrown, or the ‘lifter’ jumps [103], which prevents the inherent problem of negative acceleration during traditional resistance training [110, 111]. Ballistic training has been shown to enhance mechanical power output following training interventions [112-114]. The most popular ballistic training exercise is the squat jump, which is essentially a counter-movement jump performed with accentuated loading. This additional load is often added as a barbell placed across the shoulders in a standardized back squat position. However, the optimal load responsible for producing peak power outputs is not certain, although researchers have suggested the use of a range of 0-60% of 1 RM [115, 116], with the trend leaning toward lighter loads. The most commonly used during training interventions in a controlled research setting is 30% of 1 RM back squat, as this has been reported to be the ‘optimal load’ and has been shown to illicit positive changes in short distance (up to 40 m) sprint running [112, 117].

Plyometric Exercise

One mode of training used extensively to increase power outputs is plyometric exercise. Plyometric exercise is commonly prescribed as a series of hops, bounds or jumps [118]. This dynamic mode of training places an emphasis on the stretch-shortening cycle [119, 120] (i.e. a lengthening of the muscle-tendon unit followed by a short delay and a rapid shortening [121-123]), and should be performed with maximal speed in both the eccentric and concentric phase to optimize performance [124]. Movements utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle produce greater force than concentric only movements [121, 125, 126], and thus, plyometric exercise is thought to be effective for producing relatively high mechanical power outputs at fast movement speeds [119]. It has been suggested that plyometric exercise improves mechanical power output by increasing muscle contraction force [127-129] and needs only to be applied in small volumes [130]. Improvements in vertical jumping and sprint running following plyometric exercise is reportedly due to improved muscle coordination [131], leg extensor force output [132, 133] and, improved descending neural drive and decreased neural inhibition.

Any overload required to enhance performance is applied by increasing the stretch rate (decreasing the duration of the stretch shortening muscle function) and/or stretch load (increasing force applied to the stretch shortening system, often via increased depth jump height) [134]. Therefore plyometric exercise can be used to target movements requiring long and short stretch shortening cycle muscle functions. Skating does not have the rapid movements that might be associated with running, thus high velocity SSC movements that might be associated with depth jumps are not necessarily useful to a skating coach. However, plyometric exercise that take a relatively longer period of loading time are beneficial, as at its heart skating is an explosive movement that can rely on rapid shortening of the muscle-tendon unit to produce power.


Sample Lower Body Program

Exercise

Repetitions (reps x sets)

Notes

Prehab/Warm-up

Jazzercise

20x2

Total Hip Machine - Adduction

12x2

Total Hip Machine - Flexion

12x2

Total Hip Machine - Extension

12x2

Fitter* Push-offs

12x2

Fitter* Cross Unders

12x2

Program

Clean Pull

3x5

Clean-Grip Deadlift

6, 4, 2, 1, 1

Walking Hockey Lunges

30mx3

Super set.

plus AEL^ Forward 2-Leg Hops

3x3

Single-Leg Leg Press

15x3

Bosu Isometric 45o Squat Holds

45sec x 4

Instability and length of time overload of approximate skating hip flexion position

Table 4. Sample Lower body resistance training for ice hockey. Prehabilitation includes hip conditioning (overload) that mimics forwards and backwards-skating movements. Program follows an in session periodisation flowing from power, to maximum strength to muscular endurance, as well as bilateral to unilateral exercises. * = type of machine. ^ = Accentuated eccentric loading, performed with dumbbells used in lunging exercise.


Sample Upper Body Program

Exercise

Repetitions (reps x sets)

Notes

Prehab/Warm-up

Cuban Lifts

12x2

Gladiator Press + 45 sec side bridge

12x2

Program

Bench press

6, 4, 2, 2, 1, 1

Single-Arm Dumbbell Press

4x3

Tri-set.

plus Bent-Over Row

8x3

plus Lat Pulldown

12x3

Standing Shoulder press

12x4

Tri-set.

plus Bridging Dumbbell Row + 45 second Bridge

12x4

plus barbell shrugs

6x4

Satan Set Pullups^

18x3

6x weighted + 6x body weight + 6 x assisted pullups in a set

Forearm rope curls

1x4

1m rope, up and down for 1 rep

Table 5. Sample Lower body resistance training for ice hockey. Utilises a greater number of back exercises for increased growth (more muscle fibers), and agonist/antagonist training. The program attempts to improve strength and muscular endurance. Prehabilitation exercises are performed to improve shoulder girdle stability and trunk conditioning.

Active-Recovery Conditioning Program

The active recovery conditioning sessions are designed to incorporate different stimuli than that used in regular training sessions. This is done in an attempt to help prevent overuse type injuries. The sample plan provided is a time-trial style training session, in which the athlete is required to perform the entire session in as quick a time as possible. The exercises planned in to the program incorporate upper and lower limbs (with emphasis on the lower body), and stresses the anaerobic and aerobic systems, the speed and duration requirements. This type of training attempts to mimic, and surpass, the energy demands of game day.

Sample Conditioning Session

Rowing Ergo

500m

Clean-Grip Deadlifts

10

Rowing Ergo

500m

Squat Thrusts

50

Rowing Ergo

500m

Mountain Climbers

50

Rowing Ergo

500m

Burpees

50

Rowing Ergo

500m

Pushups

50

Rowing Ergo

500m

Pullups

50

Rowing Ergo

500m

Repeat ALL in reverse (Pullups-to-Deadlifts)

Table 6 . Sample conditioning plan for use during active recovery week.

Conclusions

Ice Hockey is a physically demanding sport, and requires players to be specifically trained to handle the unique rigors of the sport. This article has attempted to review the bioeneregetics of the hockey player, and subsequent training that might be used to enhance a player’s performance around these parameters. The applied sports scientist applying the training found in this article should be able to increase the power, speed and performance of their players.


This article is user-generated. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Anaheim Calling. Please do not link this article as representative of Anaheim Calling content or viewpoints . . . unless it's <em>really</em> really good.

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