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Upper body power as a determinant of classical cross-country ski performance

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between short (≤60 s) and long duration (4–12 min) measures of upper body power (UBP) and mass start classical cross-country ski performance. Several experienced skiers (eight men, five women) completed three separate tests of UBP on a double poling ergometer: two tests of highest average power output for 10 s (UBP10) and 60 s (UBP60), and an incremental test to exhaustion to measure peak oxygen uptake (VO2PEAK) and peak power output (UBPPEAK). Lastly, subjects competed in a 10-km classical cross-country ski race from which race speed (RS) was computed. RS correlated highly with UBP10 (r = 0.93; P < 0.05), UBP60 (r = 0.92; P < 0.05), and UBPPEAK (r = 0.94; P < 0.05); the correlation was lower but still significant for VO2PEAK (r = 0.88; P < 0.05). These findings suggest that both short and long duration measures of UBP are important determinants of mass start classical ski race performance.

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The authors would like to thank the Montana State University men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams, skiers from the Bridger Ski Foundation, and other local master Nordic skiers for their enthusiastic participation in this study.

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Correspondence to Nathan G. Alsobrook.

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Alsobrook, N.G., Heil, D.P. Upper body power as a determinant of classical cross-country ski performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 105, 633–641 (2009).

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