We’ve taken six of the world’s
top athletes to find out what it takes to
make a true Olympian… That’s it, come on! ..as we push
their bodies to the max. (ANATOMY OF AN ICE HOCKEY
PLAYER) Ice hockey is a team
game really like no other. They come onto the ice at 100%,
they have to maintain that for the short period
of time they’re on the ice. They need to recover
as rapidly as they can on the bench before
being subbed back on again. So, what ice hockey players
are is incredibly explosive. Add on top of that,
it is a brutal sport… ..where collisions are
continual, where the ability to
be robust to withstand those collisions,
really does make ice hockey something very
special on the Olympic programme. At the Olympic Winter Games
Sochi 2014, Canada won their fourth
consecutive gold medal. Jenn Wakefield is a key
member of their forward line and her high-energy,
high-impact style has made her one of ice hockey’s
biggest names. I think my biggest strengths
would probably be just my size and my weight. I’m one of the heavier
and taller hockey players. When I’m most
effective is when I can push people round and
win battles in the corner. So, you know, I might not look
the best in a bathing suit, but I get
the job done in the winter. We’ve come to
Buckinghamshire New University and its world-renowned
Human Performance Lab. Our team of scientists will
be testing Jenn to the limit, as we find out just
what’s made her one of ice hockey’s
fiercest competitors. Jenn’s physical presence
has made her a star not just of the women’s
game but also a major force in the Swedish men’s league. But what is it that makes
her anatomy so suited to this most demanding of
sports? We’re about to find out. I mean, the typical body shape
of a female ice hockey player is
probably akin to rugby. They have to be fast, they have
to be strong, they have to be powerful, but they also have to withstand
the massive collisions that are occurring
on a continual basis. The Bod Pod calculates
the amount of lean muscle and fat that
the human body is carrying. For a power athlete like Jenn,
it’s a balance between having enough mass to withstand the
intensity of her sport without compromising her speed
and agility on the ice. So, Jenn,
your result would be 22.9%. We play a 36-game schedule, so I feel like it’s more
carb-loading and getting the weight on to play the type of position
I play. Jenn’s body fat percentage
is only marginally higher than individual athletes
like tennis players, where physical presence isn’t such an
advantage and her score of 22.9% puts her firmly
in the top tier of female team sports athletes, leaner still than rugby and
basketball players. So 22.9% body fat really
indicates how robust she needs to be in order to withstand the
pressure of ice hockey itself and maintain performance
throughout the game. (SPEED) Crucially, this is really what
ice hockey is all about, once on ice, you need to
produce maximum power, maximum speed over short
durations, multiple times before coming
off the ice again. So the repeated sprint test
really is ice hockey specific. In a typical match, forwards
like Jenn play in a series of shifts, intense
45-second periods of action, which demand
both explosive power and speed, all generated from
hamstrings, calf muscles, hip flexors and quadriceps. Three, two, one – go! The repeated sprint test is
a series of ten full-throttle, maximum-effort 20m bursts –
with minimal rest in between. OK, good work, Jenn,
and back quickly! These will test Jenn’s
anaerobic ability to the max. Go, go, keep going!
Keep going! Keep going! Ice hockey is a game of
high-intensity, short-burst, maximal efforts
with players skating at speeds of 30km per hour,
and being fast is everything. Big push for this
last one! Ready? Three, two, one – go! Go! Go!
Go! Go on, push! Push! Push! Push!
Great work, Jenn! Brilliant! Her fastest 20m sprint from a
standing start was 3.42 seconds, so that tells us
that she is very, very quick. But the most
extraordinary result of all is what we
call the Fatigue Index, which is basically
how much she slows down over
those ten efforts. And if you take a look at
that, her fastest was 3.42 and she only
slowed to 3.63 seconds, that’s just a drop
of 6% in speed. Now, that really is
outstanding. How do you
feel about those results? Ah, it’s good
I can recover quickly, but I need to get faster. Do you want to go a bit faster? Hopefully I show better on
the ice than I do with running! (SPIRO) The lung function
test is important when we look at elite athletes, because to some extent ice
hockey is actually
about aerobic capacity. On ice, it’s all about speed,
it’s all about power output. But off ice, it’s actually
about being able to recover in order to come back
onto the ice to replicate that high-power output,
high speed. During an ice hockey game,
Jenn will typically participate in 20 shifts,
the high-demand periods of game time,
which will require her to perform multiple
short-burst sprints, withstand heavy collisions,
and employ her technical skills to their best advantage. OK, so I’m going to give
you this nose-clip to wear. Take a deep breath
and then put your mouth around the mouth-piece
and start blowing. Keep blowing,
keep blowing, keep blowing! Oxygen is the fuel Jenn needs to sustain these repeated
efforts and a powerful respiratory
system is essential to get the fuel to where
it’s needed most. Fast. OK, keep blowing,
keep blowing, keep blowing, nearly there. Stop! OK. So Jenn’s results for
the lung function test really are very good. In terms of what’s
called Forced Vital Capacity, which is effectively
the volume of the lung, she is 106%
of what we expect to see. And in terms of function,
she had 117% of what we would normally expect to see, now that is
an outstanding result. That forms the central
pillar of this aerobic capacity that we know is so important
for Jenn during those recovery phases between
her on ice performance. (UP CLOSE) I think the thrill of ice
hockey for me started when I was a kid, just because my
whole family played it. I have 14 cousins, so it was
nice to kind of jump on the pond and, you know, try to be
the best out of my cousins. And we were
a very competitive family. To make the Olympic team in
Sochi was an unimaginable feeling and then, you know,
the way we won the final, coming back, down 2-0
with four minutes left. You realise it’s such an
incredible feeling to win it, not only for your country
but to have your parents there that were
backing you 100%. Jennifer Wakefield! After winning, it’s
such an addictive feeling and you know I’ve dedicated
the next four years of my life to train for Pyeongchang
and, you know, you never know
what’s going to happen, you never know injuries, you
never know if you’re going to have the best year
of your life or the worst year of your life and you
kind of just have to give 100% and to have no regrets
looking back on it and that’s what separates
you from being an Olympian or separates you
from almost making it. (POWER) The vertical jump test
is a very important measure of power output. Now, power is strength
delivered as rapidly as possible, in other words it is
force per unit-time and in ice hockey
that is absolutely key. The explosive energy
Jenn needs to propel her across the ice places huge
demands on many muscle groups, calves, adductors,
glutes and quads. Can she produce the power when
she needs it to stay up with the action during game time? You need to start on the
jump mat with both feet, push yourself upward
and then land – with both feet on the mat.
– OK. By measuring
the force that Jenn applies to the
specially-calibrated mat… Fantastic! ..we can calculate
her vertical jump height, a metric which relates directly to the power she can
generate from her lower body. In ice hockey, with
its reliance on short, intense bursts of speed, it’s
vital that a forward player can call on maximum
power whenever they need it to make those big
plays that can change a game. You’ve got a 43.2! – Yes!
– Yes. 43.2. Perfect, done! You pleased with that? I bet. – You’ve done really well.
– Thank you. Jenn’s vertical jump test
of 43.5cm is exactly what we’d expect to see,
it is above average, it’s an excellent result
and is indicative of the power and critically the speed that
she requires when on ice. (VO2 MAX) The VO2 Max test is our
measure of aerobic capacity, effectively our
aerobic endurance. Now, at first sight, you would
expect an ice hockey player not to require
a massive aerobic capacity, because it is about speed and
power over short periods of time. But the key is they
have to recover, so when they come off ice,
they’ve got a short period of recovery before
coming back on to try and replicate that power
and that speed. And it’s the aerobic capacity which will underpin that
recovery. Jenn’s ability to take in
the maximum amount of oxygen and deliver it to where
it is needed most, is crucial if she’s to be able
to produce peak performance for shift after shift on
the ice. And the VO2 Max
will push her to her limit. OK, let’s go! So we’re up at 130 beats
per minute now, heart rate! In the intensity
of an ice hockey shift, forwards like Jenn are
hitting peak heart rates in excess of 90%
of their maximum. Really got to dig deep now,
let’s see how far we can get. Make sure you keep
going, keep going! Each shift in ice hockey is
a high-intensity workout. Jenn is having
to repeat shift after shift with just a few minutes
off the ice to rest, so she needs serious
powers of endurance. Now let’s find another
gear, keep pushing! And on 262 watts,
come on, Jenn, aim for 280, come on, keep pushing,
come on! Keep that cadence nice
and high, keep going, Keep pushing. Let’s go, let’s go!
Come on! Keep it going. Keep it going. OK, let’s end the test there and take
the mask off for you, and well done, great effort! The VO2 Max test
results for Jenn are good, but the interesting
thing about Jenn is that when she is preparing
for international competition we know her VO2 Max
is in the region of 51.4 – much higher, and of course
that is absolutely crucial when you are playing
multiple matches on consecutive days and it’s
exactly where she needs to be, to be
an elite team game player. Jenn’s performance
in our tests has proved that to be a gold medal-winning
ice hockey player… Go! Go! Go! Go! Keep going!
Keep going! Keep going! ..you really need to be
the complete physical package. Now let’s find another gear!
Keep pushing. Endurance levels
that would match many in the NHL and massive
explosive power, all under-pinned
by an anatomy that can withstand the
punishment of one of Olympic sport’s
most demanding events. Jenn’s results
really are exceptional. For me, it’s her
ability to move fast and sustain
that on repeated occasions are what make her
an Olympic gold medallist and one of the
best players in the world. The thrill of ice hockey for me …it’s complete adrenaline
rush, no situation is ever the same and you never know if it’s
going to be a 1-1 game, heading into overtime,
sudden-death or you’re going to crush
a team 5-0. That’s why it’s super cool
to be able to experience.