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Resisted Sprints And Their Application To On & Off Ice Hockey Training

I have used resisted sprints for on-ice and off-ice hockey training over the past 10-years.   I thought these training techniques could give players a feel for putting more force into the ice with each stride.

I recently stumbled across a research article that supported an acute effect on skating sprint speed following resisted sprint skating.

Complex Training in Ice Hockey: The Effects of a Heavy Resisted Sprint on Subsequent Ice-Hockey Sprint Performance
Matthews, Martyn J; Comfort, Paul; Crebin, Robyn
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
November 2010 – Volume 24 – Issue 11 – pp 2883-2887

I love this study for the simplicity of design.  The simpler the design, the less opportunity that you have added confounding factors.  So basically, what they did was they got eleven players from the English National League and they tested them under two conditions 1) an on-ice resisted sprint or 2) rest.

All subjects were tested for sprint speed prior to the research intervention and then again four-minutes after the intervention.

Those who simply rested showed no change in their pre and post sprint speeds on the ice.  Those who did the resisted sprint, showed faster sprint times after compared to their initial test and they were statistically faster than the group that simply rested.

So, this study supports the theory that there is an acute benefit to on-ice resisted sprint skating as a means of improving the subsequent speed of on-ice sprint training.  This study did not look at long-term benefits, so you cannot draw any conclusions about that.

Resisted Sprints for Off-Ice Hockey Training

We do a lot of off-ice sprint training, we have more access to turf than ice J.  In the video below I show you some of the best drills we use for off-ice hockey training at Revolution Conditioning.

Before you check out the video I just want to reinforce the purpose of sled training in this case – the purpose is to build speed and in some cases to improve the hockey player’s ability to repeatedly sprint and recover.

So the rest intervals need to be relatively long (5-6 times longer than the work interval) and the resistance needs to be light enough that the player can still develop near max speed.

Could a very heavy sled push be used to develop functional strength?  Yes, it could, but that is not the focus of this post today.  I just want to make sure there is no confusion.

Okay, now you can check out the video…

Sled Drills for Off-Ice Hockey Training (video)

In terms of volume, we would typically do 10-15 total sprints during any workout, but remember to keep the rest interval high when you are trying to develop your on-ice speed.

Happy training!

PS – if you want to see more on-ice drills for speed and conditioning, then you might want to check out Hockey Speed Secrets by clicking HERE.