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Physiologic Responses of Competitive Canadian Cross-Country Skiers With Disabilities

Bhambhani, Yagesh PhD*; Forbes, Scott MSc; Forbes, Janet MPT*; Craven, Bruce MPT; Matsuura, Cristiane PhD§; Rodgers, Carol PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2012 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 31–38
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3182432f0c
Thematic Issue

Objective To examine the acute cardiorespiratory and metabolic responses in competitive cross-country skiers with disabilities.

Design Cross-sectional comparisons using a select group of Canadian athletes training for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Setting Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Canmore, Alberta.

Participants Nine competitive cross-country skiers (4 with visual impairment, 1 with traumatic brain injury, 3 with spinal cord injury, and 1 with cerebral palsy).

Interventions Three-minute and 12-minute exercise tests in the standing or sitting skiing position to voluntary fatigue.

Main Outcome Measures Cardiorespiratory responses using a telemetric system to compare the physiologic responses among the athletes with different disabilities. Heart rate (HR) and capillary lactate were measured at 2, 5, and 10 minutes of recovery.

Results The t test results indicated that the peak values of the absolute and relative oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak), HR, and ventilation rate were significantly higher during the 12-minute compared with the 3-minute protocol during standing skiing. However, the oxygen pulse and ventilatory equivalent for oxygen ratio were not significantly (P > 0.05) different between the 2 protocols. Analysis of variance revealed no significant (P > 0.05) differences among the 3 trials for these peak physiologic responses during sitting skiing. Cross-sectional comparisons of the peak physiologic responses between the standing and sitting skiers indicated significantly (P < 0.05) higher values in the standing compared with the sitting position. Cardiorespiratory respiratory efficiency was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the sitting compared with the standing position. HR during 10 minutes of recovery was significantly correlated with V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak. Pearson correlations were not significant between V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak and lactate removal during recovery.

Conclusion These descriptive findings during the standing and sitting skiing protocols provide preliminary data that would be useful in testing, training, and classification of competitive skiers with disabilities.

*Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Sports Medicine Council of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

§Army School of Physical Education, Brazilian Army, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Corresponding Author: Yagesh Bhambhani, PhD, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Room 373, Corbett Hall, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4, Canada (

Supported by Own The Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received September 13, 2011

Accepted November 21, 2011

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.