Effectiveness of an 8-Week Dryland Training Program in Adult Recreational Ice Hockey Players
Dry land training is a strategy used to condition ice hockey players when they cannot get time on the ice. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an 8-week dry land hockey training program on off- and on-ice performance in adult recreational hockey athletes (n = 25). Each week, the athletes attended two dry-land sessions that consisted of a general warm-up, a dynamic warm-up, speed and agility drills, and strength training. They were also assigned weekly “homework”. Participants were pre- and post-tested for changes in vertical jump (cm) 4-jump average, long jump (cm), push-ups (reps), bent knee v-ups (reps), and an on-ice 35m sprint (sec) and Cornering S test (sec). Paired t-tests with Bonferoni corrections for multiple testing were used to assess changes. Eighteen participants (72% female and 28% male; 39.39 + 6.61 yrs), with an 80% attendance rate for the sessions, and 50% homework completion took part in pre- and post-tests.
Athletes significantly improved their scores in long jump (+53.10 cm), bent knee V-ups (+7.00 reps), and push-ups (+5.07 reps) for off-ice tests, and they significantly improved their cornering s-test scores for on-ice tests. The intensity of the workouts, the group setting, and the hockey specific exercises were all aspects of the program that the athletes enjoyed. Recommendations for improvement included having the program during the off-season rather than pre- and in-season, and using a more hockey specific general warm-up. This study demonstrates that dryland hockey training may result in increased horizontal jumping ability (long jump), core strength (v-ups), and upper body strength (push-ups) off the ice, and enhanced agility (cornering s-test) on the ice. More research should be completed to validate these findings due to the lack of a control group, small sample size, and athletes’ additional uncontrolled activity.