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Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


Don Fischer, Exercise Science & Sport Studies


The job of a strength and conditioning professional is to improve athletic performance. A periodized training program can enhance athletic performance while minimizing the risk of injuries. Designing training programs to maximize performance for ice hockey players can be difficult because ice hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports. All of the components of fitness are important in hockey: muscle endurance, strength, and power, and high oxidative and glycolytic capacities. The purpose of this project was to examine the muscular and cardiovascular demands of a women’s ice hockey team and design a 52-week, periodized training program to facilitate advantageous physiological adaptations. A review of the literature was conducted prior to the program design to determine the common muscular and cardiovascular demands. Research on women’s hockey is limited so men’s hockey was analyzed when necessary. A needs analysis summarized the findings from the literature. The primary muscle groups for skating include: hip abductors and adductors, gluteus maximus and minimus, the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Explosive muscular power is the most important aspect for hockey performance, which requires a solid strength base. Muscular endurance is also necessary to maintain peak performance for an entire game. The primary energy systems used on-ice are the ATP-CP and the glycolytic systems. The oxidative system must also be trained to facilitate rapid recovery between on-ice shifts. A 52-week, periodized training program was created to address the muscular and cardiovascular needs. The program is organized into three primary phases: preparation, competition, and transition. The mesocycles within the preparatory sub-phases gradually decrease in volume and increase in intensity and build off of the adaptations acquired in previous mesocycles. The emphasis during the competition phase is to maintain early strength and power gains. After peaking for the MIAC championships, a transition phase follows where no organized exercise is prescribed to facilitate full recovery. All training aspects of this periodized program were fully researched to ensure specific adaptations within the mesocycles.