Weight Training for Field Hockey Players
Field hockey is one of the smaller college sports in the United States. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reports that 260 colleges sponsored teams during the 2008-09 school year, with more than 5,600 women participating. Off-the-field training for the sport is combination of running for speed and stamina, and weight training for strength.
Determine Your Lifting Weight
Beginning weightlifters need to first determine how much weight to lift. Brian Mackenzie, a Level 4-rated performance coach in the United Kingdom and coach for the country's national track and field team, writes that muscles get stronger from weightlifting when they are challenged. Not lifting enough weight does not improve muscle strength, though overlifting can damage the muscle and skeletal structure. Mackenzie instructs lifters to determine how much they can lift once. Once the maximum load is determined, the number of repetitions dictates the best lifting weight. A 10-repetition set should be completed at 75 percent of the maximum lift; a 12-rep set at 70 percent; a 14-rep set at 65 percent; and a 17-rep set at 60 percent.
Whole Body Circuit
Planet Field Hockey's training section offers two suggestions for weight training. The first is a whole body circuit of seven lifts: bench press, lat pull, squat, hamstring curl, upright row, triceps press and biceps curl. The circuit should be completed in order with one to three minutes of rest between each 20-repetition set. Planet Field Hockey suggests completing the circuit three times for optimal benefit.
Planet Field Hockey's other weight circuit takes nine lifting techniques and groups them into tri-sets. Three sets of each exercise in the tri-set should be completed before moving on to the next group. The first tri-set includes a bench press, lat pull and squat; the second includes the upright row, hamstring curl and one-arm row; the third includes the lunge, biceps curl and triceps press.
In-season and Off-season Programs
In his book "The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Field Hockey," Robert Price describes three distinct lifting cycles. In the off-season, field hockey players alternate between strength and power training, while a maintenance cycle during the season keeps muscles in the legs, arms and core healthy. The off-season program consists up of two pair of four-week programs, with a week's rest in the middle, that work the chest, back, shoulders, legs and arms. Off-season lifting is done four days per week, as opposed to two days a week in-season. The in-season routine focuses on keeping the musculature healthy, with squats, dumbbell bench presses and leg presses and curls, among other lifts.
- National Collegiate Athletic Association; "1981-82 – 2008-09 NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report;" 2010
- Planet Field Hockey: Basic Strength Programs II — Whole Body Circuit
- Planet Field Hockey: Basic Strength Programs III — Triset Circuit
- BrianMac: Weight Training
- "The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Field Hockey;" Robert Price; Price World Publishing; 2003
Jared Paventi is the communications director for a disease-related nonprofit in the Northeast. He holds a master's degree from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University. He also writes a food appreciation blog: Al Dente.