Contribution of Upper-Body Strength, Body Composition, and Maximal Oxygen Uptake to Predict Double Poling Power and Overall Performance in Female Cross-Country Skiers

Sindre Østerås, Boye Welde, Jørgen Danielsen, Roland van den Tillaar, Gertjan Ettema, Øyvind Sandbakk
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2016, 30 (9): 2557-64
Østerås, S, Welde, B, Danielsen, J, van den Tillaar, R, Ettema, G, and Sandbakk, Ø. Contribution of upper-body strength, body composition, and maximal oxygen uptake to predict double poling power and overall performance in female cross-country skiers. J Strength Cond Res 30(9): 2557-2564, 2016-Maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max) is regarded as the most performance-differentiating physiological measure in cross-country (XC) skiing. In addition, upper-body strength and lean mass have been associated with double poling (DP) power in XC skiers. In this study, we tested upper-body maximal strength, lean mass, and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max's contributions to predict DP power production of different durations and the overall XC skiing performance level of elite female XC skiers. Thirteen skiers (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max: 64.9 ± 4.2 ml·kg·min) performed one 30-second and one 3-minute DP performance test using a ski ergometer. The International Ski Federation's (FIS) ranking points determined their overall XC skiing performance. The skiers performed three 1-repetition maximal strength tests in poling-specific exercises that isolated the elbow extension, shoulder extension, and trunk flexion movements. Body composition was determined by a DXA scan, and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max was tested in an incremental running test. Multiple regressions were used to predict power production in the 30-second and 3-minute tests and FIS points. The 2 best predictions of 30-second DP power were lean upper-body mass and maximal upper-body strength (with the 3 strength tests normalized and pooled together as one variable) (R = 0.84 and 0.81, p < 0.001). Along with V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, the same 2 variables were the best predictions of both 3-minute DP power (R = 0.60 and 0.44, p ≤ 0.05) and overall XC skiing performance (R = 0.43 and 0.40, p ≤ 0.05). Although the importance of upper-body strength and lean mass to predict DP power production and the overall XC skiing performance declines with the performance duration in female XC skiers, the importance of V[Combining Dot Above]O2max shows an opposite relationship.

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