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London City Lionesses players undergo strength and conditioning tests as part of MDX partnership

Players underwent maximal strength tests, jumps to measure lower body power and sprints on the running track to evaluate their acceleration

London City Lionesses Sophie Hillyerd at Middlesex University's West Stand facilities

Top players from London City Lionesses have undergone strength and conditioning testing at Middlesex University’s impressive Sports Science facilities as part of an ongoing partnership.

London City Lionesses, who compete in the second tier FA Women’s Championships, have partnered with MDX’s London Sport Institute which is based in the West Stand of the Saracens’ StoneX Stadium.

The club enjoys access to the top facilities and expertise of MDX staff while students get to work with top athletes, and the overarching aim is to increase women’s participation in sport.

Recently the Lionesses’ players were put through their paces by MDX academics as they completed various tests, including maximal strength tests, jumps to measure lower body power and sprints on the running track over 5, 10 and 20 metres to evaluate their acceleration. All the players also underwent a bone density DEXA scan which measures muscle mass, bone mineral density and body fat composition.

Lionesses’ players were full of praise for the equipment at the West Stand with defender Maddi Wilde calling them “unreal”. Fellow defender Lois Heuchan said: “This is the ultimate aspiration to have facilities as good as this one day throughout the women’s game.”

Goalkeeper Sophie Hillyerd added: “Strength and power is a really important part of being a goalkeeper and it will be great to have a tailored strength and conditioning program.”

London City Lionesses players at Middlesex University

London City Lionesses Sophie Hillyerd

Katherine Paice, a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, said: “The tests today evaluated maximum power, acceleration and speed which are fundamental markers in the performance of these top athletes and they can be monitored over time which can help to predict for potential injuries, and ensure training and nutrition is efficient and everyone is moving in the right direction.”

In future MDX students will spend time at the Lionesses’ stadium in Dartford, Kent, providing rehabilitation massages, nutritional advice and strength and conditioning tips.

“This is a very positive partnership in which the Lionesses benefits from our evidence-based teaching approach, equipment and facilities and our students gain experience of working with professional clubs and women’s teams,” added Katherine.

“This is an important part of our strategy to work with women’s teams and provide facilities that can be found in the men’s game, which women can access. It is arguably more useful for women to have access because issues such as very low body fat percentages can result in osteoporosis (a condition which weakens bones) and menstrual cycle disturbance, so it’s great to welcome them to the West Stand and begin to monitor their wellbeing.”

MDX and London City Lionesses are also part of ‘She Plays Football’, along with Spotify and Power League, offering weekly football training sessions to more than 600 girls in the Barnet area.

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