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Torstein E. Dæhlin, Ole C. Haugen, Simen Haugerud, Ivana Hollan, Truls Raastad and Bent R. Rønnestad

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.

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Bent R. Rønnestad, Joar Hansen, Ivana Hollan, Matt Spencer and Stian Ellefsen

The current study investigated the effects of 8 wk of strength-training cessation after 25 wk of strength training on strength- and cycling-performance characteristics. Elite cyclists were randomly assigned to either 25 wk of endurance training combined with heavy strength training (EXP, n = 7, maximal oxygen uptake [V̇O2max] 77 ± 6 mL . kg-1 . min-1; 3 × 4–10 RM, 1 to 2 d/wk) or to endurance training only (CON, n = 7, V̇O2max 73 ± 5 mL . kg-1 . min-1). Thereafter, both groups performed endurance training only for 8 wk, coinciding with the initial part of the competition season. Data were assessed for practical significance using magnitude-based inferences. During the 25-wk preparatory period, EXP had a larger positive impact on maximal isometric half-squat force, squat jump (SJ), maximal aerobic power (Wmax), power output at 4 mmol/L [La], and mean power in 30-s Wingate test than did CON (ES = 0.46-0.74). Conversely, during the 8-wk competition period EXP had a reduction in SJ, Wmax, and mean power in the 30-s Wingate test compared with CON (ES = 0.49-0.84). The present findings suggest rapid decline of adaptations on termination of strength training during the first 8 wk of the competition period in elite cyclists.