In the November issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, there is a study on page 2883 titled “Complex Training in Ice Hockey: The Effects of a Heavy Resisted Sprint on Subsequent Ice-Hockey Sprint Performance”. The authors are Martyn Matthews, Paul Comfort, and Robyn Crebin from the University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK. I actually didn’t have to look hard for this study as it was the first study In the journal.
The authors looked at the effect of resisted skating as a “pre-load” on skating speed. There were 11 subjects who were players from the English National League. There were 2 experimental conditions. Condition 1 consisted of a 10-second heavy resistance sprint while condition 2 consisted of just resting. A timed 25 meter sprint was recorded before and 4 minutes after each condition. Condition 2 showed no improvement. Condition 1 on the other hand, showed a significant 2.6% decrease in times. Obviously, this study shows that a single resisted sprint on-ice was enough to improve sprint performance on-ice (with 4 minutes rest).
To me, this is an interesting study. I’ve always been a big believer in complex training. From a practical perspective, we’ve always included a phase of complex training in the off-season in the weight room. It is not uncommon for us to “complex” exercises such as front squats and hurdle hops or bench press and medicine ball throws. We’ve also done complex training with resisted sprinting and sprinting on land as well. The purpose is the development of power.
Late in the off-season, I think there needs to be a transition from off-ice sprinting and speed development to more on-ice speed development. This is usually mid-late august for us. We don’t do much off-ice sprinting when we start a higher volume of skating. From a practical perspective, I think resisted on-ice sprinting is something that would be beneficial late in the off-season for hockey players.