Rundell, K. W., Judelson, D. A., & Speiring, B. A. (2002). An evaluation of cardiovascular demands and practice specificity in women’s ice hockey. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(5), Supplement abstract 879.

“Preparation for the physical demands of competition often involves game simulation during practice. This paradigm is thought to promote physiological adaptations that will enhance maximal game performance. A mismatch between “game simulation” practice intensity and actual competition intensity may not provide appropriate training to achieve optimal game play fitness.”

USA National Women’s Hockey Team members (N = 11) served as Ss. Heart rates at five second intervals were monitored during a game and typical practice session. HRmax was determined for each S during a treadmill test

Mean working HRs were 90±2% during games and 76±3% during practices. The amount of time that HR was over 90% HRmax, was 10.5±4.1% in games and 5.6±3.5% at practice. Those differences were statistically significant. Mean resting HR, mean session HR, and percent of time >80% HRmax were similar between game and practice sessions.

Implication. Cardiovascular load is significantly higher in ice hockey game situations than at practice. It is possible that game fitness is not developed fully from practices.

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