Weight Training for Field Hockey

Field hockey
A field hockey game. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Field hockey requires a combination of strength, speed, and endurance. Weight training can improve these qualities. How can you use a weight training program to improve field hockey performance?

Field hockey requires excellent aerobic fitness to provide endurance for sustained effort, strength to hold position over the ball and to hit, push, and flick powerfully, and speed and agility for general play.

Weight training can help you develop strength, endurance, and agility. You will also need to do aerobic and high-intensity anaerobic training as part of an integrated training program.

Aerobic fitness means you can run at a moderate pace for a substantial time without getting too tired. Anaerobic exercise occurs at an even higher intensity in which your muscles have to burn internal energy sources rather than get energy from oxygen.

Achieving anaerobic fitness means you can keep going longer at high intensities before your legs and body slow down.

Both are important in hockey, especially if you are likely to play the whole or most of the game. When you optimize all these elements—strength, endurance, and agility—you can claim to be at peak fitness.

Program Outline for Field Hockey

A year-round field hockey weight training program could look like the program outlined below. You can also view the ice hockey training program.

Early Pre-Season Weight Training

During the beginning of the pre-season, players are preparing for the season and starting to build up after the off-season. Emphasis is on building aerobic fitness and basic functional strength.

Late Pre-Season Weight Training

Later in the pre-season, players are working up to the start of the season, including pre-season trials. Emphasis is on building anaerobic fitness and sustainable strength and power.

In-Season Weight Training

By now, competition is underway, and players are expected to be fully functional for competition. Maintenance of speed, aerobic, and anaerobic fitness and strength and power is emphasized.

Off-Season Weight Training

Hopefully you won the title, but in any case, you need to think about next season during the off-season. Emphasis is on rest and recovery with maintenance of light activity—like cross-training or light gym work. Several weeks' break from serious fitness and strength training is helpful.

As pre-season approaches, more regular work can resume with an emphasis on building aerobic fitness and strength once again for the pre-season training.

Regard the program presented here as an all-around program or template, best suited to beginners or casual weight trainers without a history of weight training. The best programs are always specific to an individual's current fitness, role in the team, access to resources, and—no less important—the team coaches' essential philosophy.

You will be best served by using the following program in conjunction with a trainer or coach. If you're new to weight training, brush up on principles and practices with these beginner resources.

Always warm-up and cool down before and after a training session. A medical clearance for exercise may be a good idea at the start of the season if you have not had one previously or if you have health concerns.

For the following exercises, do three sets of 6 to 12 repetitions. Brush up on sets and repetitions if you need to. Use heavier weights with fewer sets.

Specific Exercises for Field Hockey

The following exercises can help improve your field hockey performance:

Points to Note

There are a few things to keep in mind when weight training:

  • Adjust the weight selected so that the final few repetitions are taxing but not so difficult that you completely fail.
  • Get sufficient rest between sets—30 seconds to two minutes depending on how heavy you lift. Take more rest for heavier sets and fewer reps.
  • Take at least two days off between weight training sessions to recover. Don't weight train immediately before a field training session or game.
  • Your muscles may be sore after some sessions. Muscle soreness, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is normal; joint pain is not. Back off and perhaps get medical advice when you feel any joint discomfort or lingering muscle and connective tissue pain.
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Article Sources
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