Squats as a predictor of on-ice performance in ice hockey
Introduction: The National Hockey League Entry Draft Combine (NHLED Combine) is
considered one of the toughest physical fitness tests an ice hockey player has to go through. The NHLED Combine consists of several fitness tests evaluating the athlete’s aerobic- and anaerobic capacity; lower body power, upper body strength and power, flexibility and anthropometrics; no lower body strength test are employed. Squats are the only exercise used by all National Hockey League (NHL) strength and conditioning coaches yet it is not included in the NHLED Combine.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine which off-ice test correlates best with on-ice performance measured as forward skating speed. We hypothesised that squat one repetition maximum (squat 1RM) would be a better or equal predictor of on-ice performance compared to the current NHLED Combine tests standing long jump (SLJ) and Wingate anaerobic test (WAnT).
Method: Eleven male subjects, aged 17.8 ± 0.8 years, performed an on-ice sprint followed by the off-ice tests SLJ, WAnT and squat 1RM.
Results: A correlation was found between sprint time on-ice and SLJ (r= -0,727, p= 0.006), Wingate anaerobic test mean power/ body weight (WAnT MP/BW) (r= -0,607, p= 0,024), squat 1RM (r= -0,600, p= 0.026) and squat 1 repetition maximum/body weight (squat 1RM/BW) (r= -0,609, p= 0.023).
Conclusion: The results indicate that squat 1RM and squat 1RM/BW are equally good predictors of hockey performance as SLJ and WAnT MP/BW.
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