Training programs for ice hockey players have two fundamental objectives; namely, to optimize performance and to minimize the risk of injury. The design of efficient and successful programs to meet these purposes depends on a careful analysis of the physiological demands of the game and the environment in which it is played. Moreover, if the program is to meet individual needs, the physical and physiological status of the player must be considered. Ice hockey is a demanding sport that involves the recruitment of essentially all of the skeletal muscles of the body in order to perform the diverse skills of the game. These skills are performed over various ranges of movement, at various velocities and loads, and usually involve several large muscles acting synergistically. Moreover the extended nature of the game, performed over three periods, results in numerous repetitions of each task. Collectively, the repeated performance of these tasks impose extreme demands on respiratory, cardiovascular, neural, muscular, metabolic, and thermoregulatory systems of the body. The physiological demands may be further exaggerated given the protective equipment that is worn and the fact that abnormally high temperatures and humidities may be present. Proper preparation can only be realized by exposing the participant to progressive routines designed to systematically challenge each of the physiologic systems in a manner appropriate to game conditions.
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