L. Hultin, W. Zhu, K.A. Pribanic, J.L.Terry, D.P. Heil FACSM

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Development of upper body power (UBP) has become an integral part of the training process for competitive cross-country (XC) skiers. Many researchers have found that measures of UBP correlate highly with distance and sprint XC skiing performance. To date, there are two types of ergometers commonly used in research and training settings to measure UBP: 1) A custom-modified rowing ergometer that uses ski poles, and 2) a commercially available ergometer that does not use ski poles. However, no previous study has compared UBP measures from these two types of ergometers to determine whether one correlates better with XC performance. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlational relationships between measures of UBP from two different types of UBP ergometers with distance and sprint cross country ski performance in collegiate and regionally competitive cross country skiers. METHODS: Twenty-two XC skiers (Mean±SD: 10 women, 21±3 yrs, 55.8±4.9 ml/kg/min VO2MAX; 12 men, 20±2 yrs, 67.7±4.4 ml/kg/min VO2MAX) from the Montana State University (MSU) Nordic Ski Team and Bridger Ski Foundation were recruited. The subjects completed four separate tests of UBP on two UBP-specific ergometers on two separate lab visits in random order. Two UBP tests used a custom-modified rowing ergometer developed in the MSU Movement Science/Human Performance Lab (MSL) that incorporates the use of ski poles for 10 s (UBP10MSL) and 60 s (UBP60MSL). The other UBP tests were performed on a commercially available skiing ergometer (SE) for 20 s (UBP20SE)and 60 s (UBP60SE) that did not use ski poles. Lastly, subjects participated in five different ski races: three classic events (1.3 km sprint; 10/15 km distance; 10 km time trail) and two skate events (1.5 km sprint; 10/15 km distance race) from which race speed (RS) was computed. The RS for each race was correlated with all four UBP measures (0.05 alpha). RESULTS: RS correlated highly with all UBP tests (r =0.86-0.95, UBP10MSL; r= 0.83-0.95, UBP60MSL; r= 0.88-0.98, UBP20SE; r= 0.90-0.97, UBP60SE) and all were statistically significant (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Upper body power (UBP) measures from both UBP ergometers (i.e., one with poles and another without poles) correlated highly with distance and sprint XC skiing performance in collegiate and regionally competitive XC skiers. When comparing UBP measures from the two different UBP ergometers, no statistical differences were found between the two. Therefore, this study concludes that both ergometers have similar abilities to predict distance and sprint XC skiing performance in a group of collegiate and competitive skiers.

Equipment donation from Concept2 CTS, Inc. (Morrisville, VT USA).

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