Weekly Training Load in Elite Male Ice Hockey: Practice Versus Competition Demands

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare training load (TL) between practice and games across in-season microcycles in elite Danish male ice hockey. Methods: Practice sessions and game data were collected using a wearable 200-Hz accelerometer, heart rate (HR) recording, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) throughout 23 practice sessions and 8 competitive games (n = 427 files) and examined in relation to the number of days before the game (game day minus). Results: Total accelerations, accelerations >2 m·s−2 (Acc2), total decelerations, decelerations less than −2 m·s−2 (Dec2), time >85% maximum heart rate (t85HRmax), Edwards TL, modified training impulse (TRIMPMOD), session-RPE, peak HR (HRpeak), and RPE were greater during competition than during practice (r = .19–.91; P < .05), whereas total accelerations per minute and total decelerations per minute were lower (r = .27–.36; P < .001). Acc2, t85HRmax, Edwards TL and TRIMPMOD, % t85HRmax, mean HR (HRmean), and RPE progressively decreased toward game day (r = .13–.63; P < .001). Positive correlations were found between Acc2, Dec2, Acc2 per minute, and Dec2 per minute during practice and during competition (r = .66–.84; P < .001). Conclusions: Evident within-week decreases in internal TL but not external TL were observed as the game day approached. Day-to-day variations were more pronounced in HR- and RPE-based parameters than accelerations and decelerations. Finally, the amount of intense accelerations and decelerations performed during practice was associated to the amount performed during competition, whereas physiological and perceptual demands showed no such relationship.

Rago is with Kolding Sport Club, Kolding, Denmark, and the Faculty of Health and Sports Sciences, Universidade Europeia, Lisbon, Portugal. Muschinsky, Deylami, and Mohr are with the Dept of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. Mohr is also with the Center of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands. Vigh-Larsen is with the Research Unit for Exercise Biology, Dept of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Vigh-Larsen (jeppefoged@ph.au.dk) is corresponding author.
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