Weight Training for Field Hockey

Field hockey

Chris Brunskill / Getty Images

Field hockey requires a combination of strength, speed, and endurance. Weight training can improve these qualities. Weight training programs can be used 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.

Benefits of Weight Training for Field Hockey

Weight training can help you develop strength, endurance, and agility. It is also best to do aerobic and high-intensity anaerobic exercise 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.

Structuring Weight Training

A year-round field hockey weight training program could look like the program outlined below. There is more emphasis on weight training during the off-season when athletes are not actively participating in competitive sport. 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 the maintenance of light activity—like cross-training or light gym work. Several weeks' break from intense fitness and strength training is helpful.

As pre-season approaches, more regular work can resume, emphasizing building aerobic fitness and strength for pre-season training.

Regard the program presented here as a comprehensive 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 with a trainer or coach. If you're new to weight training, brush up on principles and practices with these beginner resources.

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.

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 have health concerns.

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.
6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Parul PK. Impact of resistance workout on physical fitness components of field hockey players. Int J Sci Res. 2014;3(9):1923-5.

  2. Hanjabam S, Jyotsna K. Effects of 6-week sprint-strength and agility training on body composition, cardiovascular, and physiological parameters of male field hockey players. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(4):894-901. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002212

  3. Patel H, Alkhawam H, Madanieh R, Shah N, Kosmas CE, Vittorio TJ. Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World J Cardiol. 2017;9(2):134-8. doi:10.4330/wjc.v9.i2.134

  4. Riebe D, Franklin BA, Thompson PD, et al. Updating ACSM's recommendations for exercise preparticipation health screening. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015;47(11):2473-2479. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000664

  5. American Council on Exercise. How to select the right rest intervals and post-training recovery for your clients.

  6. Golshani K, Cinque ME, O'Halloran P, Softness K, Keeling L, Macdonell JR. Upper extremity weightlifting injuries: diagnosis and managementJ Orthop. 2017;15(1):24–27. doi:10.1016/j.jor.2017.11.005

By Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers is a personal trainer with experience in a wide range of sports, including track, triathlon, marathon, hockey, tennis, and baseball.