I love getting the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in the mail. There are always some interesting studies to go through. I was lucky this month as the May 2011 issue of the journal features a hockey study right at the beginning.
This hockey study, “Physiological Characteristics of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 Ice Hockey Players and Their Relation to Game Performance”, authored b y Karissa L. Peyer, James M. Pivarnik, Joey C. Eisenmann, and Michael Vorkapich, all from Michigan State University showed more reasons for hockey players to strength train and perform interval training.
What I really liked about this study is that they looked at how pre-season testing results correlated to overall game performance over the course of a season. They didn’t just look at a single factor such as on-ice speed or slap shot velocity. The overall game performance was evaluated through the plus/minus rating and a coach’s perspective where they ranked the bottom 6 and the top 6 out of the total 24 subjects who were men’s division 1 players.
What the study showed was that leg press, chin ups, bench press, and repeat sprint performance correlated with game performance by the +/- score. What is interesting is that this study also showed that VO2 max and body composition results seem to not be predictors of playing performance.
The authors state, “Based on these findings, measures of strength and sprint ability appear to be significant predictors of hockey performance.” From a practical perspective, this shows more evidence and support for hockey players to get stronger and include repeated sprinting for conditioning (interval training).