Physiological Demands of Competitive Sprint and Distance Performance in Elite Female Cross-Country Skiing


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Abstract

Carlsson, M, Carlsson, T, Wedholm, L, Nilsson, M, Malm, C, and Tonkonogi, M. Physiological demands of competitive sprint and distance performance in elite female cross-country skiing. J Strength Cond Res 30(8): 2138–2144, 2016—The purpose was to investigate the relationship between elite females' competitive performance capability in sprint and distance cross-country skiing and the variables of gross efficiency (GE), work rate at the onset of blood-lactate accumulation (OBLA4mmol), maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), maximal speed (Vmax), and peak upper-body oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak). Ten elite female cross-country skiers (age 24.5 ± 2.8 years) completed treadmill roller-skiing tests to determine GE, OBLA4mmol, and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max using the diagonal-stride technique as well as Vmax and V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak using the double-poling technique. International Ski Federations ranking points for sprint (FISsprint) and distance (FISdist) races were used as competitive performance data. There were correlations between the FISsprint and the V[Combining Dot Above]O2max expressed absolutely (p = 0.0040), Vmax (p = 0.012), and V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak expressed absolutely (p < 0.001) and as a simple ratio-standard (p = 0.049). The FISdist were correlated with OBLA4mmol (p = 0.048), V[Combining Dot Above]O2max expressed absolutely (L·min−1) (p = 0.015) and as a simple ratio-standard (p = 0.046), and V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak expressed absolutely (p = 0.036) and as a simple ratio-standard (ml·min−1·kg−1) (p = 0.040). The results demonstrate that the physiological abilities reflected by V[Combining Dot Above]O2max and V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak are indicators of competitive sprint and distance performance in elite female cross-country skiing. In addition, the ability to generate a high Vmax indicates the performance in sprint races, whereas the skier's OBLA4mmol reflects the performance capability in distance races. Based on the results, when evaluating the performance capacity of elite female cross-country skiers, it is recommended to use physiological variables that reflect competitive performance.

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