Influence of ski pole grip on peak upper body power output in cross-country skiers

D P Heil, J Engen, B K Higginson
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2004, 91 (4): 481-7
This study tested the influence of three ski pole grip systems (pole grip + wrist strap) on peak upper body power output: a traditional system (Swix PC grip and simple strap); a modern system (Swix PC grip and SR94 strap); an integrated system (Yoko 232 grip and Yoko 232 strap). Nine men [mean (SD): 32 (12) years, 177.0 (5.4) cm, 75.1 (6.0) kg] and two women [24 (9) years, 174.6 (3.6) cm, 67.3 (7.7) kg], all of whom were experienced cross-country ski racers at the regional, national, or international level for the U.S., performed three successive upper body power (UBP) tests on a modified double-poling ergometer. Each subject performed three 15-s tests of UBP using stiff cross-country ski poles (classic length; same poles for all tests per subject) and a resistance corresponding to 3% of body mass. Peak UBP was determined as the highest 5-s average power output during the last 10 s of each test. The three grip systems were tested in a counterbalanced order with 3-3.5 min of rest between tests. Peak UBP data were analyzed using a two-factor RM ANOVA and Sheffe's post-hoc test at the 0.05 alpha level. Peak UBP for the integrated system [mean (SE): 169.2 (6.8) W or 2.30 (0.06) W/kg] was significantly higher than value for both the modern [164.1 (7.2) W or 2.23 (0.07) W/kg] and traditional systems [162.5 (7.0) W, or 2.21 (0.06) W/kg] for absolute and relative power output (P<0.05). Given that double-poling peak UBP can be influenced by the ski pole grip system, a skier's choice of grip system may also influence cross-country ski racing performance.

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