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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 117, Issue 11, pp 2149–2157 | Cite as

Functional significance of extent and timing of muscle activation during double poling on-snow with increasing speed

  • Chiara ZoppirolliEmail author
  • Gennaro Boccia
  • Lorenzo Bortolan
  • Federico Schena
  • Barbara Pellegrini
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate the level of activation and timing of upper- and lower-body muscles during double poling at different speeds on snow.

Methods

Nineteen well-trained cross-country skiers volunteered to double pole on a flat snowy track at different speeds (15, 18, 21 km h−1). The target speeds could be maintained by the skiers thanks to the use of an audio-pace system in combination with cones spaced equally alongside the track. Only 11 subjects were finally included in the analysis, since their actual speeds, calculated through a photocell system, were within ±0.5 km h−1 from those requested. Cycle and poling durations were measured from the recordings of an accelerometer attached to a wrist, while the pattern and the level of muscle activation were evaluated from electromyographyc signals.

Results

Double poling speed did not alter the sequence of muscle activation that started with hip flexors, continued with trunk flexors, shoulder, elbow and trunk extensors and ended with ankle plantar-flexors. However, higher speeds required an increasing involvement of thigh, trunk and shoulder muscles (P < 0.05) as well as an anticipation of their activation before pole plant (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

A progressively earlier activation of trunk and lower limb muscles is a coordinative strategy that allows rapid achievement of optimal body posture prior to the exertion of poling phase. Moreover, earlier activation of these muscles as the speed increases provides adequate muscle stiffness in the shoulder and core regions for the acceptance of the poling load.

Keywords

On-snow skiing Muscle sequence Muscle activation Movement control 

Abbreviations

Ag

Silver

CT

Cycle time

End

End of the poling phase

EMG

Electromyographyc

ESp

Erector spinae muscle

GB

Gigabyte

GMe

Gastrocnemius medials muscle

iEMGratio

Integral of EMG envelopes (expressed as a ratio of the value measured during the 15 km h−1 trial)

LDo

Latissimus dorsi muscle

MANOVA

Multivariate analysis of variance

On

Beginning of muscle activation

Off

End of muscle activation

P

P value

pk

Peak of muscle activation

pkratio

Amplitude of peak muscle activation (expressed as a ratio of the value measured during the 15 km h−1 trial)

PT

Poling time

RAb

Rectus abdominis muscle

RFe

Rectus femoris muscle

RT

Recovery time

SENIAM

Surface electromyography for non-invasive assessment of muscles activation

SD

Standard deviation

SPSS

Statistical package for social sciences

Start

Beginning of the poling phase

T_att

Duration of muscle activation (expressed as % of the normalized cycle)

TBr

Triceps brachii muscle

t_on

Instant of beginning of muscle activation (expressed as % of the normalized cycle)

t_off

Instant of end of muscle activation (expressed as % of the normalized cycle)

t_pk

Instant of peak muscle activation (expressed as a % of the normalized cycle)

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to all the athletes that took part to the study. We thank the Cross-Country Stadium of Lago di Tesero, the Marcialonga Organizing Committee and the Fiamme Gialle military group for the logistic support during testing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Zoppirolli
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gennaro Boccia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lorenzo Bortolan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Federico Schena
    • 1
    • 2
  • Barbara Pellegrini
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CeRiSM (Research Center Sport Mountain & Health)RoveretoItaly
  2. 2.Neuroscience, Biomedicine and Movement Science DepartmentUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  3. 3.NeuroMuscularFunction Research Group, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Exercise and Sport SciencesUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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