Changes in upper body muscle activity with increasing double poling velocities in elite cross-country skiing

Stefan Josef Lindinger, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Erich Müller, Walter Rapp
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2009, 106 (3): 353-63
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) contraction is integrated in neuromuscular activation in upper body muscles during double poling in cross-country skiing. Thirteen elite skiers performed double poling roller-skiing at increasing treadmill velocities of 9, 15, 21, 27 km h(-1) and their individual maximal velocity. Elbow angle, axial pole force and surface EMG in the triceps brachii, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi and teres major muscle were recorded. Increases in peak pole force, rate of force development and elbow flexion angular velocities were identified (P < 0.05). The mean MVC-normalized EMG amplitudes increased during the pre-activation phase before pole plant, elbow flexion and the reflex-mediated phase between 30 and 120 ms after pole plant due to velocity increases (P < 0.05). It is thus suggested that elite cross-country skiers use SSC during double poling, particularly in the triceps muscle in order to generate high forces.

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