West Ham United’s head of medical Richard Collinge has claimed that Hammers winger Andriy Yarmolenko was training at 3000m altitude last season.
The Ukrainian international spent the majority of the last campaign on the sidelines after suffering a serious injury in October, and Collinge has lifted the lid on his months-long recovery.
“Andriy was doing work in a simulated environment of 3000m altitude,” he told Sky Sports. “That worked his heart and lungs harder, so when he came back to the pitch his fitness wasn’t depleted too much.
“He’d do high-intensity work on the bike and, from December, we gradually increased the weight his body was bearing as he ran on the treadmill. We’re always trying to find these gains to get the player back on the pitch quicker and safer and in a more effective manner.”
Collinge provides plenty of fascinating insight, here, into the work that goes into getting a player back from injury at Premier League level. Clearly the clubs involved are all over the latest technology and different ways of aiding recovery, which is good news for West Ham, who obviously have Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski sidelined at the moment. It’s interesting that the Hammers staff were so concerned about ensuring that Yarmolenko was at match sharpness before he actually returned to the first team fray. They clearly didn’t want his body to go from 0-100 in terms of how hard it was working, and so they employed innovative measures like simulated altitudes and bike work to get him back up to speed. Strength was obviously something they looked at, as well, steadily increasing the weight he was bearing while he jogged on the treadmill. Clearly there is nothing the Hammers won’t do to try and help their players recover as best they can.