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    • What is it? Anaerobic means literally “without air.” It is important  to increase it because it conditions your body for the short bursts of  energy needed while playing hockey. Your body’s anaerobic capacity  supplies most of the energy needed for hockey. Hockey players are  constantly fighting fatigue both during a hockey shift and as a game  progresses. That is why the average hockey shift should be 45 to 60  seconds in length. You will notice a significant decline in energy levels  and skill execution the longer the shift.
    • an article that pointed out how Alexander Ovechkin takes incredibly long shifts and compared those to other NHL teams.  Most NHL teams don't vary from this much; for example, Oilers forwards under Craig MacTavish had an average shift length of between 39 and 48 seconds for every player; that's actually a tighter range than even the Red Wings (37 - 47 seconds).
    • En route to winning the Stanley Cup last year, the Detroit Red Wings didn't have a single forward who averaged as much as 50 seconds per shift during the playoffs, and only a pair of defenseman who were above that mark... by one second. Last year's runners-up had one forward and one blueliner above 50 seconds, both of whom were under the 55-second mark. In fact, of the 48 players who averaged 50 seconds or more per shift in last year's playoffs, 29 - or 60% - of them played seven games or fewer.
    • But while that may sound like a positive - getting away from opposition line-matching - it isn't, necessarily. As E.J. Hradek pointed out after the Game 1 loss:
    • In their first-round series loss to the Flyers last season, Washington's stars had a tendency to overstay their shifts. In Game 1 against the Rangers, I noticed the same thing. Alex Ovechkin's average shift time was 78 seconds. That's about 30 seconds too long for most players during the playoffs. I know he went very long on each of their power-play chances; that ratchets up his average shift time. Still, I don't know how you can be that good for that long during a playoff game that's being played at a very high tempo.... A.O. is a special player, but 78 seconds per shift is too long; so is Alexander Semin's 68 seconds per shift and Mike Green's 61 seconds. They'll want to shorten that up in Game 2.
    • But for young   hockey players, much of the endurance training   should be anaerobic intervals, which also elevate   the comfort zone for competition and increase speed,   power, skill, and explosiveness.

       

      By   training aerobically (long, slow distances) there is   no improvement in speed, explosiveness, or power.   Furthermore, training at an aerobic pace on the ice   would establish a slow comfort zone which is more   than just a habit. There are definite physiological   consequences when one tries to compete at a faster   pace than practice.

    • We tested a college   men's hockey team before and after six weeks of   dryland interval training designed to improve   running speed and quickness, anaerobic power on   hills, and explosive power using skating-specific   squat jumps. The training included short sprint   intervals (5-15 seconds work : 50-60 seconds rest)   and longer intervals for anaerobic power and   endurance (30:60 and 30:90). There was no aerobic   distance training. Workouts lasted only 45 minutes   in the first week and increased to 90 minutes by the   sixth week.

       

        Post-tests showed significant improvements in   skating quickness even though none of the training   was on-ice. There were also improvements in power,   measured during two anaerobic bicycle tests   (12-second sprint test improved 6.8%; 40-second   all-out Wingate test improved 8.0%). But the   greatest percentage improvements were apparent   during a graded exercise test to measure changes in   cardio-respiratory parameters normally associated   with aerobic training. Total work done during the   graded exercise test increased by 29%. This, of   course, measures a combination of aerobic and   anaerobic work.

    • Hockey is an interval game, so the most important   endurance training is interval workouts on-ice.   During games, shifts on the ice are typically about   40 seconds long, and rest intervals on the bench are   2 to 3 times as long if there are no face-offs.   Biomechanists analyzed high-speed film to determine   that a typical 40-second shift will have a series of   short (3-second) bursts of acceleration and   deceleration. Furthermore, research has verified   what hockey players feel each year at training camp:   endurance training off-ice may not increase   endurance on-ice (Daub et.al. Med.Sci.Sports Exerc.   pp. 290-294. 1983).
    • Consider this fact:  after  20 seconds of all-out effort, skating muscles are fatigued to the point that good technique is almost impossible. It’s true. From testing thousands of players at all levels, we have not found one who could — after 20 seconds — maintain good knee bend, quick feet, powerful extension and efficient skating posture.
    • In these stop-start skating tests, lactic acid levels were as high as it gets, so the muscles simply could not function powerfully or in a coordinated way. This means that toward the end of the most intense shifts in a game, players are unable to skate as efficiently as they do at the beginning. “Great skaters” are reduced to hacks as lactic acid builds up.
    • The most obvious changes as a player experiences this anaerobic fatigue are changes in basic skating posture. This is not a function of cardiovascular fitness — or “cardio,” a term that is common among fitness gurus. This has nothing to do with “aerobic” endurance. It is anaerobic endurance — but more specifically, it is anaerobic endurance in skating muscles in a very specific range of motion.

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