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PHYSIOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING PERFORMANCE

Mahood, N V.1; Kenefick, R W.1; Kertzer, R FACSM1; Quinn, T J. FACSM1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2001 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p S11
A15J THEMATIC POSTER SESSION SCIENCE IN WINTER SPORTS: CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, EXERCISE-INDUCED ASTHMA
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1The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (Sponsor: Timothy Quinn, FACSM)

Previous laboratory testing has identified the importance of upper-body aerobic and anaerobic power to cross-country skiing performance. The purpose of this investigation was to extend laboratory research into a ski-specific field setting to identify predictors of performance. Thirteen male collegiate skiers performed three field-testing sessions on roller skis to establish lactate threshold and ski economy (LT/ECON), maximal oxygen uptake (SKVO2max), and a 1-km double-pole time trial (UBTT) to determine peak upper-body oxygen uptake (UBVO2). As a measure of skiing performance the subjects performed a 10-km skating time-trial (TT) and were ranked according to competitive season performance (RANK). Significant correlations (p < 0.05) were found between SKVO2max, LTVO2, ECON, UBVO2, and time to complete the UBTT (UB time) with RANK and TT time. UB time exhibited the strongest correlation to both RANK (r = 0.95) and TT time (r = 0.92). Multiple regression analyses revealed that UB time was the best predictor of RANK and TT time as demonstrated by the significant beta weights (0.77, p < 0.001) and (0.79, p < 0.001) respectively. The importance of the UB component was further seen in that UB time was still the best predictor of performance when the subjects were divided into two distinct groups of greater and lesser competitive ability. These findings identify the importance of the upper body component to cross-country skiing performance, suggesting a need to focus on upper-body conditioning within a well-rounded endurance training program. Additionally, the UBTT exhibits potential as a simple field test to predict cross-country skiing performance over more sophisticated and costly laboratory and field-testing.

©2001The American College of Sports Medicine