The game of hockey is fast and furious. Not only do you need good aerobic and cardiovascular fitness to maintain speed for the entire game but also you need strength and power.
This was ably demonstrated by the Olympic gold-medal winning England women’s team in 2016.
Players will really benefit from adding high intensity resistance circuits to their training to improve muscle and cardiovascular fitness. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is currently very popular, and for good reason – it improves fitness and burns fat very effectively.
One advantage of these exercises is that they require minimal equipment, as you use the weight of your body as the resistance. They can also easily be incorporated into field hockey drills for the whole team. As each workout should last around just 20 minutes, it is easy to fit them in. There are many excellent resources for hockey specific drills, such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/.
Before you start, choose the exercises you will be doing – perhaps legs one day and your core the next. Do the exercises for the time specified – your phone’s stopwatch and timer functions will come in handy here. Take short rests between each exercise (15 to 30 seconds).
Rope skipping for a minute is an excellent warm-up. It gets your arms and legs working and is good for foot speed and hand-eye coordination.
Burpees are a school PE classic. From a squat, jump back into a plank position, lowering into a press-up before jumping back up to standing. Aim for 10 sets of 10.
These are done in the plank position, bringing your knees up towards your chest alternating legs. It is important to maintain the position, keeping your hips level. Start with 30 seconds, moving up to one minute.
Squats and lunges
Whether you are doing static squats or alternating leg lunges, these will strengthen and tone the whole leg. You can add hand-held weights to increase resistance.
Not only do these strengthen all the core muscles but also they improve shoulder, back, arm and leg muscles. Position is key – you should be aiming for a straight line from shoulder to foot. Pull your navel into your spine, keep your back straight, and make sure your hips do not dip towards the floor. Build up to holding for one minute.