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Background:

Combined plyometric and strength training has previously been suggested as a strategy to improve skating performance in ice hockey players. However, the effects of combined plyometric and strength training have not previously been compared with the effects of strength training only.

Purpose:

To compare the effects of combined plyometric and strength training on ice hockey players’ skating sprint performance with those of strength training only.

Methods:

Eighteen participants were randomly assigned to 2 groups that completed 5 strength-training sessions/wk for 8 wk. One group included plyometric exercises at the start of 3 sessions/wk (PLY+ST), and the other group included core exercises in the same sessions (ST). Tests of 10- and 35-m skating sprints, horizontal jumping, 1-repetition-maximum (1 RM) squat, skating multistage aerobic test (SMAT), maximal oxygen consumption, repeated cycle sprints, and body composition were performed before and after the intervention.

Results:

The participants increased their 1RM squat, lean mass, and body mass (P < .05), with no difference between the groups. Furthermore, they improved their 3×broad jump, repeated cycle sprint, and SMAT performance (P < .05), with no difference between the groups. PLY+ST gained a larger improvement in 10-m on-ice sprint performance than ST (P < .025).

Conclusion:

Combining plyometric and strength training for 8 wk was superior to strength training alone at improving 10-m on-ice sprint performance in high-level ice hockey players.

Dæhlin, Haugen, Haugerud, and Rønnestad are with the Dept of Sport Science, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway. Hollan is with the Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Lillehammer, Norway. Raastad is with the Dept of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.

Rønnestad (bent.ronnestad@hil.no) is corresponding author.