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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jun;31(6):870-7.

Maximal strength training improves work economy in trained female cross-country skiers.

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Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.



The present study examines the hypothesis that maximal strength training improves work economy and anaerobic threshold in trained female cross-country skiers while working on a ski ergometer.


Fifteen female cross-country skiers (17.9 +/- 0.3 yr, 166.7 +/- 1.3 cm, 60.1 +/- 1.9 kg, and 55.3 +/- 1.3 mL x kg(-1) x min(-1)) participated in the study. Eight skiers made up the high-intensity strength-trained group, and seven served as the control group. Endurance performance was tested on a specially instrumented ski ergometer. Strength training and testing simulated double poling in cross-country skiing.


A significant (P < 0.001) improvement in double-poling economy on the ski ergometer was observed among the strength-trained group. Anaerobic threshold did not change during the experimental period for either group. After a 9-wk training period, time to exhaustion increased from 5.2 (+/-0.9) to 12.3 (+/-1.6) min (P < 0.001) and from 4.0 (+/-0.9) to 6.3 (+/-0.9) min (P < 0.01) for the strength and control group, respectively. Time to exhaustion was significantly higher (P < 0.001) for the strength group compared with the control group after training. One repetition maximum increased 14.5% (1.8) (P < 0.001) in the strength group but was unchanged in the control group. Expressed in relation to peak force at one repetition maximum, strength training resulted in a significant reduction in the relative available force employed working on the ski ergometer (P < 0.01). Time to peak force at maximal aerobic velocity on the ski ergometer was significantly reduced in the strength-training group (P < 0.01).


It is concluded that maximal strength training in the upper-body improved the double-poling performance by improved work economy. Work economy was improved by a reduction in relative workload and time to peak force while double poling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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