The Influence of Pole Length on Performance, O2-Cost and Kinematics in Double Poling
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2017, 12 (2), 211-217. 10.1123/ijspp.2015-0754
Purpose: In the double poling cross-country skiing technique, the propulsive forces are transferred solely through the poles. The aim of the present study was to investigate how pole length influences double poling performance, O2-cost and kinematics during treadmill roller skiing. Methods: Nine male competitive cross-country skiers (24±3 yrs, 180±5 cm, 72±5 kg, VO2max running: 76±6 mL·kg-1·min-1) completed two identical test protocols using self-selected (84±1% of body height) and long poles (self-selected + 7.5 cm; 88±1% of body height) in a counter-balanced fashion. Each test protocol included a 5-minute warm-up (2.5 m·s-1; 2.5°), three 5-min submaximal sessions (3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 m·s-1; 2.5°) for assessment of O2-cost, followed by a self-paced 1000-m time trial (~3 min, >5.0 m·s-1; 2.5°). Temporal patterns and kinematics were assessed using accelerometers and 2D video. Results: Long poles reduced 1000-m time (mean±90% confidence interval; -1.0±0.7%, P=0.054) and submaximal O2-cost (-2.7±1.0%, P=0.002) compared to self-selected poles. The center of mass vertical range of displacement tended to be smaller for long than for self-selected poles (23.3±3.0 vs. 24.3±3.0 cm, P=0.07). Cycle and reposition time did not differ between pole lengths at any speeds tested, whereas poling time tended to be shorter for self-selected than for long poles at the lower speeds (≤ 3.5 m·s-1, P≤0.10), but not at the higher speeds (≥4.0 m·s-1, P≥0.23). Conclusion: Double poling 1000-m time, submaximal O2-cost and center of mass vertical range of displacement were reduced in competitive cross-country skiers using poles 7.5 cm longer than self-selected ones.