Share this article on:

Effect of Skiing Speed on Ski and Pole Forces in Cross-Country Skiing


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - pp 1111-1116
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181666a88

Purpose: The present study characterized pole and ski forces in classical technique cross-country skiing. Eight elite junior cross-country skiers performed diagonal skiing at 65%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of maximum speed on a stable 100-m-low uphill (2.5°).

Method: The ski and the pole forces (vertical (Fz) and horizontal (Fy) directions) on the right and left sides were recorded separately when the skier skied over a special custom-made force platform system placed at the end of the uphill course. The entire system consisted of four separate 20-m-long rows of 1-m-long force plates connected in series, row by row.

Results: When the forces were averaged for the various functional phases of skiing cycle, the ski Fz during the gliding phase decreased and the braking ski Fy and Fz remained the same with higher skiing speed. During the subsequent kick phase, both ski Fy and Fz increased significantly as a function of the skiing speed. Consequently, the Fy ratio between the ski and the pole plant increased with faster skiing speed. Simultaneously measured EMGs from five different muscles showed that the abdominals had a pattern of increasing activation with increase in speed of skiing. All the other muscles, vastus lateralis (VL), rectus femoris (RF), erector spinae (ES), and medial gastrocnemius (MG), were obviously active in the preloading and the kick phases.

Conclusions: The speed dependence of the ski and the pole force distributions in the present study are important for further understanding of the complexity of cross-country skiing. Especially relevant is to use these results as basis for studies aimed at better understanding of the propulsive force production, when more comprehensive EMG analysis is complemented with simultaneous kinematic recordings at varied slope, speed, and waxing conditions.

1Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, FINLAND; 2Vuokatti Sports Institute, Vuokatti, FINLAND; and 3Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, Osaka, JAPAN

Address for correspondence: Pekka Vähäsöyrinki, Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Finland; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2007.

Accepted for publication December 2007.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine