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Hockey player workouts to build strength and speed
Hockey Training to Gain Strength and Speed

13 January, 2022

13 January, 2022

13 January, 2022

5
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Hockey is a highly practiced sport in some regions of the planet such as Canada or the United States. Ice hockey has its origin in Canada where a group of university students  decided to start creating the sport that today is practiced by more than 500,000 people in the United States. Among other things, the students of McGill University, created the first hockey regulation and created the first hockey club on ice. Since then, it is a sport that has been growing exponentially and currently moves millions of masses in some countries in America and Europe. 

Ice hockey, like other team sports, is currently geared toward improving fitness. In recent years, we are seeing in all team sports that fitness and muscle strength can make a team get more wins or less. This becomes much more important in a sport like ice hockey where there is a lot of physical contact and where it is important. However, apart from having a high physical component or we also can’t forget that in any sport the reaction speed and the top speed are key to better performance.

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    Hockey is a highly practiced sport in some regions of the planet such as Canada or the United States. Ice hockey has its origin in Canada where a group of university students  decided to start creating the sport that today is practiced by more than 500,000 people in the United States. Among other things, the students of McGill University, created the first hockey regulation and created the first hockey club on ice. Since then, it is a sport that has been growing exponentially and currently moves millions of masses in some countries in America and Europe. 

    Ice hockey, like other team sports, is currently geared toward improving fitness. In recent years, we are seeing in all team sports that fitness and muscle strength can make a team get more wins or less. This becomes much more important in a sport like ice hockey where there is a lot of physical contact and where it is important. However, apart from having a high physical component or we also can’t forget that in any sport the reaction speed and the top speed are key to better performance.

    In this sense, in this week’s post our goal is to analyze the current scientific literature and be able to answer the question of whether an increase in strength and speed can help a greater performance in ice hockey. It is already known that the speed and acceleration of skating  is decisive for performance in this sport. This was said by Lee and collaborators in 2014  (1)  and Buckeridge et al. in 2015  (2)  who concluded by saying that good acceleration and correct maximum speed skating on ice are crucial to be able to beat the rival.

    In addition, other studies have seen that these two characteristics of skating are related to greater force in the lower train and, therefore, a greater vertical jump and horizontal jump. With this in mind, we can assume that if we are able to increase the maximum jumping force and the strength of the lower body we will have a better“performance”  in ice hockey. However, there are many ways to increase the muscle strength of the lower train so it will be interesting to give an example that can serve professionals.

    Studies on the effect of training based on muscular strength

    In the study that we are going to analyze below, Torstein et al. (2016) studied  the effect of two types of training based on muscle strength on speed and acceleration in ice hockey athletes  (3). Both trainings were based on strength training, but one of them included a plyometric training as well. In this way, two groups that carried out strength training for 8 weeks were compared and to which it was measured:

    • Acceleration in 10 meters
    • Speed in 35 meters
    • Lower train strength
    • Aerobic resistance

    Due to the heterogeneity of the trainings from the Vitruve blog, we have decided that it is more interesting for the coaches and readers of this section that you have the training that was carried out. Below, you can see in the image the distribution of the training load there was. 

    Hockey player workouts to build strength and speed

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us or click on the study to which we are alluding. 

    Once we know the types of training that were developed, the time of intervention and the variables measured, we will analyze the results that both trainings gave. Before starting, it is worth remembering the objective that the authors of the study had, which was to compare a plyometric training added to strength training with strength training only in two very important variables for performance in ice hockey; the maximum speed skating and acceleration.

    That said, we see that the group that performed the plyometric training plus the strength training reduced, in greater proportion, the time spent on 10 meters skating. That is, we could say that the acceleration skating of the people who performed this training was greater than that of the group that entered  only strength. For example, we see that the plyometric training and strength training group went down or 2.8 ± 3.1% the time to travel 10 meters skating  while the strength-only group fell 0.4 ± 2.0%(p  = 0.022). However, no differences were found in the time in which the 35 meters are traveled. In the image we see the first pre-post example between the groups in the 10 meters and 35 meters test consecutively.

    Hockey player workouts to build strength and speed

    Results of the studies and their effects

    On the other hand, both trainings were effective in improving the strength of the lower train and aerobic resistance, finding differences between the values before and after the training. With these results we can already answer what our colleagues Torstein et al. asked themselves in 2016 (3). Plyometric training coupled with strength training is an efficient method to increase acceleration in ice hockey in the first 10 meters, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect on total speed during the 35 meters  compared to strength training alone.

    These results have been achieved through training outside the ice hockey rink. It seems that training off the track can help improve performance on the track. However, what effects can strength training within the hockey rink have on performance? This question was asked by colleagues Jeffrey M. et al. in 2013 (4).

    As we have advanced before, a plyometric or strength training is effective for the improvement not only of acceleration, but also of other parameters such as leg strength or aerobic resistance. But can a strength training on the track have the same effect? Our colleagues Jeffrey M. et al. (4)  wanted to try it with hockey athletes from 11 to 14 years old with a small intervention of 4 weeks and with a total of 8 sessions. To be able to practice ice skating in a way that would help performance they used a methodology called  “BungeeSkate”  that is mainly based on placing an elastic band to the hockey player and that performs a certain number of series forward with that resistance. So that you can get an idea it is very similar to running with a resistance as an athletics parachute can offer. 

    That being said, let’s look at the training done by the participants who were in the experimental group. It is important to keep in mind that we can perform multiple exercises with the “Bungee”. Due to the specificity of the exercises used by the authors of this study we have chosen to put the exercises directly so that coaches and athletes can replicate them: 

    Hockey player workouts to build strength and speed

    Finally, and in order to offer relevant information to our readers, we will analyze the results of this study. To do this, we must bear in mind that what have been the main variables to be evaluated. As we said at the beginning of this blog post, maximum speed and acceleration are two parameters that determine performance in ice hockey. Therefore, the authors measured the maximum speed in a route of 15.2 meters, the acceleration in 6.1 meters and the speed in traveling 44.8 meters. Below, we have a map of the tests that were performed.

    Hockey player workouts to build strength and speed

    The results of the study show that the maximum speed at 15.2 meters was improved after the application of 8 sessions of“BungeeSkate”. In fact, the experimental group improved from 2.11 ± 0.12 seconds to 1.99 ± 0.17 seconds unlike the control group which went from 2.10 ± 0.15 seconds to 2.02 ± 0.14 seconds. In the same way, in the 44.8-meter test the experimental group had an improvement going from 7.14 ± 0.38 seconds to 6.84 ± 0.83 seconds unlike the control group that went from 6.83 ± 0.59 seconds to 6.90 ± 0.31 seconds. 

    Last words

    By way of conclusion and after having exhaustively analyzed the aforementioned studies we can conclude that strength training and also speed training allows ice hockey players to improve in two parameters of great relevance within the sport such as maximum speed and acceleration. However, we cannot fail to mention, as we have seen, that one of the most important principles of training is that of “specificity”, that is, training what we want to improve. In this case, we have seen how a tool like the “BungeeSkate” can help improve and also motivate athletes to continue exercising on the track. If you want your athletes to improve their performance in ice hockey, do not hesitate to train the strength and speed on and off the rink.

     

    References

    1. Lee C, Lee S, Yoo J. The effect of a complex training program on skating abilities in ice hockey players. Journal of physical therapy science. 2014;26(4):533-7.
    2. Buckeridge E, LeVangie MC, Stetter B, Nigg SR, Nigg BM. An on-ice measurement approach to analyse the biomechanics of ice hockey skating. PloS one. 2015;10(5):e0127324.
    3. Daehlin T, Haugen O, Haugerud S, Hollan I, Raastad T, Ronnestad B. Combined plyometric & strength training improves ice-hockey players’ on-ice sprint. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016:1-22.
    4. Janot JM, Auner KA, Emberts TM, Kaatz RM, Matteson KM, Muller EA, et al. The effects of BungeeSkate training on measures of on-ice acceleration and speed. International journal of sports physiology and performance. 2013;8( 4):419-27.

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