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Gender Differences in Hockey Players During On-Ice Graded Exercise

Durocher, John J1,2; Jensen, Dennis D3; Arredondo, Aaron G2; Leetun, Darin T4; Carter, Jason R1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 1327-1331
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816eb4c1
Original Research

Durocher, JJ, Jensen, DD, Arredondo, AG, Leetun, DT, and Carter, JR. Gender differences in hockey players during on-ice graded exercise. J Strength Cond Res 22, 1327-1331, 2008-The purpose of this study was to examine whether gender differences exist for ventilatory threshold (VT), lactate threshold (LT), and o2max during on-ice skating in college hockey players. Ten male and 10 female Division III college hockey players performed a graded exercise skating protocol until reaching volitional fatigue. The graded exercise test employed stages that were 80 seconds in duration, with 40 seconds of rest between each stage to obtain blood lactate samples. Ventilatory threshold occurred at a higher percentage of maximal heart rate (HRmax) in women than in men. The women's VT occurred at 77.3% ± 1.6% HRmax, while the men's VT occurred at 72.6% ± 2.0% HRmax (p < 0.02). Men and women had similar HRmax values: 191.3 ± 2.5 b·min−1 and 185.8 ± 2.5 b·min−1, respectively. o2max was different between genders, with men at 52.7 ± 1.3 mL·kg−1·min−1 and women at 40.1 ± 1.0 mL·kg−1·min−1 (p < 0.01). In addition, VT was different between genders when measured as a percentage of o2max, with men at 52.7% ± 3.2% and women at 67.3% ± 4.0% (p < 0.02). In contrast, LT was similar between genders when expressed as a percentage of HRmax or o2max. For each gender, LT occurred at a significantly higher percentage of HRmax or o2max than VT did. It can be concluded that VT does not accurately predict LT in male or female hockey players. Additionally, competitive female hockey players have a lower o2max but a higher VT than their male counterparts. An increased VT may be a compensatory mechanism to offset the smaller o2max values measured in female hockey players. On-ice testing is a practical way to address specific aerobic training needs of hockey players.

1Department of Exercise Science, Health, and Physical Education and 2Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan; 3Cardiopulmonary Services; 4Portage Sports Medicine Institute, Portage Health, Hancock, Michigan

Address correspondence to Dr. Jason R. Carter,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association