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Prediction of race performance of elite cross-country skiers by lean mass
Department of Health and Social Sciences, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden. Dala Sports Academy, Falun, Sweden..
Department of Health and Social Sciences, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden. Dala Sports Academy, Falun, Sweden..
Department of Health and Social Sciences, Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden. Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway..
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine. (Arcum)
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2014 (English)In: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, ISSN 1555-0265, E-ISSN 1555-0273, Vol. 9, no 6, 1040-1045 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between race performance and lean mass (LM) variables, as well as to examine sex differences in body composition in elite-standard cross-country skiers.

METHODS: Thirty-four elite cross-country skiers (18 men and 16 women) underwent a dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry body composition test to determine LM, fat mass, and bone mineral content. For both sexes, performance data were collected from a sprint prologue and a distance race.

RESULTS: The absolute expression of LM variables [whole body (LMWB), upper body (LMUB), and lower body (LMLB)] was significantly correlated with finishing time in the sprint prologue independent of sex. Distance-race performance was significantly related to LMWB, LMUB, and LMLB in women; however, no correlation was found in men. Men had a significantly higher LM and lower fat mass, independent of expression (absolute or relative), for the whole body, arms, trunk, and legs, except for the absolute fat mass in the trunk.

CONCLUSIONS: The absolute expressions of LMWB, LMUB, and LMLB were significant predictors of sprint-prologue performance in both sexes, as well as of distance-race performance in women only. Compared with women, male skiers have a higher LM in the body segments that are major contributors to propelling forces. These results suggest that muscle mass in the lower and upper body is equally important for race performance; thus, more focus of elite skiers' training should be directed to increasing whole-body muscle mass to improve their competitive performance capability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 6, 1040-1045 p.
Keyword [en]
body composition, muscle mass, DXA
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-95076DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0509ISI: 000344834500023PubMedID: 24700141OAI: diva2:757265
Available from: 2014-10-21 Created: 2014-10-21 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Physiological demands of competitive elite cross-country skiing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Physiological demands of competitive elite cross-country skiing
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction Researchers have, for decades, contributed to an increased collective understanding of the physiological demands in cross-country skiing; however, almost all of these studies have used either non-elite subjects and/or performances that emulate cross-country skiing. To establish the physiological demands of cross-country skiing, it is important to relate the investigated physiological variables to the competitive performance of elite skiers. The overall aim of this doctoral thesis was, therefore, to investigate the external validity of physiological test variables to determine the physiological demands in competitive elite cross-country skiing.

Methods The subjects in Study I – IV were elite male (I – III) and female (III – IV) cross-country skiers. In all studies, the relationship between test variables (general and ski-specific) and competitive performances (i.e. the results from competitions or the overall ski-ranking points of the International Ski Federation (FIS) for sprint (FISsprint) and distance (FISdist) races) were analysed. Test variables reflecting the subject’s general strength, upper-body and whole-body oxygen uptake, oxygen uptake and work intensity at the lactate threshold, mean upper-body power, lean mass, and maximal double-poling speed were investigated.

Results The ability to maintain a high work rate without accumulating lactate is an indicator of distance performance, independent of sex (I, IV). Independent of sex, high oxygen uptake in whole-body and upper-body exercise was important for both sprint (II, IV) and distance (I, IV) performance. The maximal double-poling speed and 60-s double-poling mean power output were indicators of sprint (IV) and distance performance (I), respectively. Lean mass was correlated with distance performance for women (III), whereas correlations were found between lean mass and sprint performance among both male and female skiers (III). Moreover, no correlations between distance performance and test variables were derived from tests of knee-extension peak torque, vertical jumps, or double poling on a ski-ergometer with 20-s and 360-s durations (I), whereas gross efficiency while treadmill roller skiing showed no correlation with either distance or sprint performance in cross-country skiing (IV).

Conclusion The results in this thesis show that, depending on discipline and sex, maximal and peak oxygen uptake, work intensity at the lactate threshold, lean mass, double-poling mean power output, and double-poling maximal speed are all externally valid physiological test variables for evaluation of performance capability among elite cross-country skiers; however, to optimally indicate performance capability different test-variable expressions should be used; in general, the absolute expression appears to be a better indicator of competitive sprint performance whereas the influence of body mass should be considered when evaluating competitive distance performance capability of elite cross-country skiers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2015. 46 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1713
Performance capability, maximal oxygen uptake, lactate threshold, lean mass, double poling, power output, maximal speed, sprint skiing, distance skiing.
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-102878 (URN)978-91-7601-269-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-05, Föreläsningssal 6, Högskolegatan 2, 79188, Falun, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-05-13 Created: 2015-05-08 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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