Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the influence of a short-term electromyostimulation (EMS) training program on the strength of knee extensors, skating, and vertical jump performance of a group of ice hockey players.
Methods: Seventeen ice hockey players participated in this study, with nine in the electrostimulated group (ES) and the remaining height as controls (C). EMS sessions consisted of 30 contractions (4-s duration, 85 Hz) and were carried out 3x wk for 3 wk. Isokinetic strength of the knee extensor muscles was determined with a Biodex dynamometer at different eccentric and concentric angular velocities (angular velocities ranging from -120 to 300 degrees .s). Jumping ability was evaluated during squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), drop jump (DJ), and 15 consecutive CMJ (15J). Sprint times for 10- and 30-m skates in specific conditions were measured using an infrared photoelectric system.
Results: After 3 wk of EMS training, isokinetic torque increased significantly (P<0.05) for ES group in eccentric (-120 and -60 degrees .s) and concentric conditions (60 and 300 degrees .s), whereas vertical jump height decreased significantly (P<0.05) for SJ (-2.9+/-2.4 cm), CMJ (-2.1+/-2.0 cm), and DJ (-1.3+/-1.1 cm). The 10-m skating performance was significantly improved (from 2.18+/-0.20 to 2.07+/-0.09 s, before and after the 3-wk EMS period, respectively; P<0.05).
Conclusion: It was demonstrated that an EMS program of the knee extensors significantly enhanced isokinetic strength (eccentric and for two concentric velocities) and short skating performance of a group of ice hockey players.