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Upper-Body Anthropometric and Strength Measures and Their Relationship to Start Time in Elite Luge Athletes

Crossland, Brett W1; Hartman, Jason E2; Kilgore, J Lon3; Hartman, Michael J4; Kaus, John M5

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 10 - pp 2639-2644
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318207ed7a
Original Research

Crossland, BW, Hartman, JE, Lon Kilgore, J, Hartman, MJ, and Kaus, JM. Upper-body anthropometric and strength measures and their relationship to start time in elite luge athletes. J Strength Cond Res 25(10): 2639–2644, 2011—Start time has been shown to be a significant predictor of overall performance in the sport of luge. The starting motion in luge has been described as an explosive upper-body movement that requires significant technique and skill to perfect. This study aims to investigate upper-body factors that may relate to start time in luge. Twenty-two subjects participated in the study as part of their normal off-season training. Each subject had a minimum of 3 years' experience in the sport of luge, and at the time was a member of a U.S. Luge National Team. Subjects completed a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in the bench press (BP), prone row (PR), and weighted pull-up (WP). Anthropometric distances were taken measuring finger-tip span (FS), biacromial breadth (BB), acromio-radial length, acromio-olecranon length (AO), hand length, and sitting cervical height. Subjects were divided into 2 groups based on which U.S. Luge National team they were currently a member of, Senior National (SN, n = 13) and Junior National (JN, n = 9). A Pearson product–moment correlation coefficient showed several significant (p ≤ 0.05) relationships between upper-body variables and start time among the groups. The BP and PR 1RM were shown to have a significant relationship in both groups. Among the anthropometric variables, AO was also significant in both groups. The WP, FS, BB, and height were all shown to have a significant relationship with start time in the SN group, but not in the JN group. These results suggest that as luge athletes become more efficient in the starting technique, outside factors such as upper-body strength and anthropometric measures play a larger role in performance.

1Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; 2Department of Sport Performance, United States Olympic Committee, Lake Placid, New York; 3Department of Athletic Training and Exercise Physiology, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas; 4Department of Kinesiology, Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, Texas; and 5United States Luge Association, Lake Placid, New York

Address correspondence to Brett Crossland, brett_crossland@brown.edu.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association