JOURNAL ARTICLE

Physiological correlates of skating performance in women's and men's ice hockey

Kajsa M Gilenstam, Kim Thorsen, Karin B Henriksson-Larsén
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (8): 2133-42
21785292
The purpose of the current investigation was to identify relationships between physiological off-ice tests and on-ice performance in female and male ice hockey players on a comparable competitive level. Eleven women, 24 ± 3.0 years, and 10 male ice hockey players, 23 ± 2.4 years, were tested for background variables: height, body weight (BW), ice hockey history, and lean body mass (LBM) and peak torque (PT) of the thigh muscles, VO2peak and aerobic performance (Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation [OBLA], respiratory exchange ratio [RER1]) during an incremental bicycle ergometer test. Four different on-ice tests were used to measure ice skating performance. For women, skating time was positively correlated (p < 0.05) to BW and negatively correlated to LBM%, PT/BW, OBLA, RER 1, and VO2peak (ml O2·kg(-1) BW(-1)·min(-1)) in the Speed test. Acceleration test was positively correlated to BW and negatively correlated to OBLA and RER 1. For men, correlation analysis revealed only 1 significant correlation where skating time was positively correlated to VO2peak (L O2·min(-1)) in the Acceleration test. The male group had significantly higher physiological test values in all variables (absolute and relative to BW) but not in relation to LBM. Selected off-ice tests predict skating performance for women but not for men. The group of women was significantly smaller and had a lower physiological performance than the group of men and were slower in the on-ice performance tests. However, gender differences in off-ice variables were reduced or disappeared when values were related to LBM, indicating a similar capacity of producing strength and aerobic power in female and male hockey players. Skating performance in female hockey players may be improved by increasing thigh muscle strength, oxygen uptake, and relative muscle mass.

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