I have a 53 year old male client who plays senior ice hockey twice a week, from September through April. The season will be starting soon. What kind of program would you recommend for getting him ready for the season, and then a maintenance program throughout the season? He has been playing ice hockey for over 30 years but has been a member of a health club for only one year.
After 30 years of playing hockey, I will guess your client has good ice skills. However, his conditioning may be another thing. By prioritizing his training needs, it will be much easier to keep him from over training. Because he is 53 years old, you may run into an energy deficit, which could lead to an Over Training Syndrome (OTS).
First, perform interval training either on the ice or on a stationary bike. Before competitions start, the intervals should be longer than in season. After a warm up, work loads can be 75 to 80 percent efforts, lasting one to two minutes with 30 seconds to one minute of rest between reps. Design your sets to have three to six reps in each one. Active rest between sets of three to five minutes. Add more sets as he develops endurance. You may also want to check heart rate at the end of each rest period between sets. When his heart rate stays elevated, he is finished.
Second, resistance training: I would suggest two days a week in the resistance training mode. Because he lacks experience in the gym setting, his body may find an elaborate training program too stressful and lead to OTS. Two days a week is a great stimulus when coupled with interval training. Split his resistance training into two modes;
- Hard-heavy exercises (3-5RM) using three to six sets and two to four minutes rest
- Moderate-heavy exercises (10-12RM) with rhythmical speed of movement, two to four sets and two to three minutes rest
The choice of exercises should focus on compound movements using barbells and dumbbells. In season training can follow the same pattern, just decrease the volume of work and increase the rest periods.