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Train like a GB hockey Olympian

Paul Stretch, GB men’s lead strength and conditioning coach, gives us an insight into hockey-specific training

The main potential issue for the GB players in this outbreak period is a lack of intensity, expressed through velocity or high magnitude of load. While they don’t readily have 160-200kg to lift it’s how we can get something that will get a physical outcome with a slightly different equipment set up.

There might be improvisation with heavy resistance bands, electrical muscle stimulation (compex) and manipulate time under tension, pauses and holds. In velocity, it’s all about sprinting. Our guys are pretty well conditioned and they will spend a significant amount of time above 19km/h, above 26km/h in a typical training week. Of course, in lockdown it’s difficult to maintain this.

As part of the warm up in field-based conditioning sessions – generally lasting 30 minutes – 10 minutes of this will touch top speed with various drills. For the amateur cohort, there is the opportunity to express max velocity at a specific frequency per week.

I have two examples of field based conditioning, one that’s really going to hit the lungs, one-to-one work-rest ratio, and one that will enable a more explosive, higher quality of work at a 1 to 3 work rest ratio.

15 seconds on pitch length, 15 seconds off. Go again. 30 seconds per rep.
The GB players will be set circa 3 sets of 5 minutes. You can build towards 8 minutes.

A warm up with running drills would include two flying 25 yards at the end of the warm up. I like to use build 25, flat out 25, cruise down 25.

So, 25 yards and back x3 equates to 25 yards x 6 (150 yards).

You are looking for that to take 27 seconds, you go every two minutes and looking at a 90 second recovery. If you can do eight of them, that is pretty solid (seniors will build to 12) . If you can keep this under 30 seconds, it gives you a target.

A typical GB week in isolation

Set out six conditioning sessions per week, with four circuit sessions. So this could include one of each running example alternating on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. “Off feet” conditioning which is primarily bike based, steady state, 40 – 60 minutes on Wednesday and Saturday.

Gym/Circuit work

Monday and Thursday: Go with Body weight type, volumous, continuous circuit work (squats, lunges, steps ups, squat jumps, press ups, pull ups, core work etc. You could build up to, say, five sets of 20 reps on each of those exercises.

Tuesday and Friday: High intensity gym/circuit work, these are the sessions that are mostly equipment specific, so something heavy for the legs, hips and upper limb and perhaps four set of five reps if really heavy. Check out Henry Weir’s HITT videos on Instragram.

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