Energy cost of free technique and classical cross-country skiing at racing speeds

Boye Welde, Frank Evertsen, Erna Von Heimburg, Jon Ingulf Medbø
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2003, 35 (5): 818-25

PURPOSE: First, to measure the O(2) uptake ([OV0312]O(2)) and the blood lactate concentration during cross-country skiing at competition speed. Second, to compare these entities for the free technique and the classical technique. Further, to establish the subjects' [OV0312]O(2max) and the [OV0312]O(2) corresponding to the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA, 4 mmol.L-1) during skiing, and finally to relate these entities to those of treadmill running.

METHODS: Five high-level female junior cross-country skiers with a mean [OV0312]O(2max) of 63 served as subjects in five tests: examination of the [OV0312]O(2max) and the [OV0312]O(2) corresponding to the OBLA during up-hill cross-country skiing (both styles), inclined treadmill running, and a 6-km simulated cross-country ski race (both styles).

RESULTS: The [OV0312]O(2max) obtained during up-hill cross-country skiing did not differ from that during treadmill running, nor did it differ between the two skiing styles. The peak heart rate was significantly lower during uphill cross-country skiing than during treadmill running. During the simulated competitions, the [OV0312]O(2) averaged 84% of the [OV0312]O(2max) or 95% of the [OV0312]O(2) at the OBLA found for uphill skiing.

CONCLUSION: High-level female junior cross-country skiers are unable to ski at intensities close to their [OV0312]O(2max) or maintain an average intensity above that corresponding to their OBLA even during races lasting less than 25 min. Thus, training at intensities around the OBLA may be particularly relevant for cross-country skiers.

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