Changes in Selected Morphological Characteristics in Elite Ice Hockey Players during an Eight-Week Conditioning Program

By Kutáč, Petr; Sigmund, Martin et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, September 2017 | Go to article overview

Changes in Selected Morphological Characteristics in Elite Ice Hockey Players during an Eight-Week Conditioning Program


Kutáč, Petr, Sigmund, Martin, Botek, Michal, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Success in high performance sport requires the optimal development of characteristics such as motor abilities, skills and physical fitness. High performance is also associated with specific ranges in somatic parameters depending on the sporting discipline. Athletes in endurance (aerobic) disciplines have a lower body weight and a lower body fat percentage compared with athletes competing in strength or anaerobic sports. In athletics, this is documented by the values for road cyclists, middle distance and long distance runners, compared with sprinters or throwers; in skiing there are different values for downhill skiers versus cross-country skiers. The differences in body height in athletics can also be found when comparing the values of endurance runners, sprinters, jumpers and throwers. Height is also one of the most significant factors associated with sporting performance in many sport games (McArdle, Katch & Katch, 2007).

From a physiological perspective, ice hockey is an high-intensity intermittent physical activity (Mongomery, 2000). Therefore, training should focus on the development of strength, particularly explosive strength as the fundamental motor skill, together with the development of aerobic and particularly anaerobic performance including speed and agility (Brocherie, Babault, Cometti, Maffiuletti, & Chatard, 2005; MacLean, 2008; Montgomery, 2006; Quinney et al., 2008). Conditioning sessions should emphasize developing overall strength of the trunk, extensors of the hip and knee joint, hip adductors, musculus triceps brachii and musculus deltoideus (Brocherie et al., 2005; Quinney et al., 2008). The optimum development of aerobic [VO2max scores ± 56-60 mL.(kg.min)-1] and anaerobic capacity (AnC) (the total AnC in elite ice hockey players is ± 1100-1200 W; the relative AnC/kg in elite ice hockey players is ± 13 W/kg) is considered to be the main predictive factors for success and performance (Peyer, Pivarnik, Eisenmann, & Vorkapich, 2011; Potteiger, Smith, Maier, & Foster, 2010; Tarter et al., 2009). The development and maintenance of these parameters is supported primarily by the conditioning sessions players are exposed to across the various phases of the season. Together with the development of aerobic and anaerobic components of elite ice hockey players conditioning phases should also impact on specific somatic parameters. This is supported by a number of studies addressing the association between the somatic parameters and performance in ice hockey players (Barzilay, 2002; Quinney et al., 2008; Zryd, Kölliker, & Tschopp, 2009) or in studies analysing the morphological and functional parameters in elite ice hockey players (Canadian-American NHL, Russian KHL, Czech ELH) (Kutáč & Sigmund, 2015; Skowronek, Socha, Roczniok, & Socha, 2013; Stanula et al., 2013).

In the Czech Republic, the ELH competition period runs from Fall without any breaks until the end of Spring. Therefore, players have a limited, but a clearly defined time period, to complete intensive pre-season conditioning. This intensive conditioning is primarily performed off-ice and provides players with the opportunity to develop specific motor abilities, skills and fitness (MacLean, 2008; Sigmund, Dostálová, & Brychta, 2013). This is also a period during which changes in the somatic characteristics of the players should take place as a result of the intensive conditioning. Ideally, these changes will contribute to improved or optimal performance in the upcoming ELH competition. In the ELH, the traditional conditioning model is a joint preseason program, with elite players participating in conditioning programs at their ice hockey club. This model has previously made it difficult to perform research examining the impacts of specific conditioning on somatic changes in elite Czech ice hockey players. Therefore, the aim of the study was to monitor the changes in the body composition of an entire team of elite players during a conditioning program. …

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