Efficacy of a Four-Week Uphill Sprint Training Intervention in Field Hockey Players

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Jakeman, JR, McMullan, J, and Babraj, JA. Efficacy of a four-week uphill sprint training intervention in field hockey players. J Strength Cond Res 30(10): 2761–2766, 2016—Current evidence increasingly suggests that very short, supramaximal bouts of exercise can have significant health and performance benefits. Most research conducted in the area, however, uses laboratory-based protocols, which can lack ecological validity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a high-intensity sprint training program on hockey-related performance measures. Fourteen semiprofessional hockey players either completed a 4-week high-intensity training (HIT) intervention, consisting of a total of 6 sessions of HIT, which progressively increased in volume (n = 7), or followed their normal training program (Con; n = 7). Straight-line sprint speed, with and without a hockey stick and ball, and slalom sprint speed, with and without a hockey stick and ball, were used as performance indicators. Maximal sprint speed over 22.9 m was also assessed. On completion of the 4-week intervention, straight-line sprint speed improved significantly in the HIT group (∼3%), with no changes in performance for the Con group. Slalom sprint speed, both with and without a hockey ball, was not significantly different after the training program in either group. Maximal sprint speed improved significantly (12.1%) in the HIT group, but there was no significant performance change in the Con group. The findings of this study indicate that a short period of HIT can significantly improve hockey-related performance measures and could be beneficial to athletes and coaches in field settings.

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