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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Dec;109(6):1895-903. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00671.2010. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Muscle use during double poling evaluated by positron emission tomography.

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Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Norwegian Research Centre for Training and Performance, Post Box 4014, Ullevål Stadion, 0806 Oslo, Norway.


Due to the complexity of movement in cross-country skiing (XCS), the muscle activation patterns are not well elucidated. Previous studies have applied surface electromyography (SEMG); however, recent gains in three-dimensional (3D) imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) have rendered an alternative approach to investigate muscle activation. The purpose of the present study was to examine muscle use during double poling (DP) at two work intensities by use of PET. Eight male subjects performed two 20-min DP bouts on separate days. Work intensity was ∼ 53 and 74% of peak oxygen uptake (Vo(2peak)), respectively. During exercise 188 ± 8 MBq of [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([(18)F]FDG) was injected, and subsequent to exercise a full-body PET scan was conducted. Regions of interest (ROI) were defined within 15 relevant muscles, and a glucose uptake index (GUI) was determined for all ROIs. The muscles that span the shoulder and elbow joints, the abdominal muscles, and hip flexors displayed the greatest GUI during DP. Glucose uptake did not increase significantly from low to high intensity in most upper body muscles; however, an increased GUI (P < 0.05) was seen for the knee flexor (27%) and extensor muscles (16%), and for abdominal muscles (21%). The present data confirm previous findings that muscles of the upper limb are the primary working muscles in DP. The present data further suggest that when exercise intensity increases, the muscles that span the lumbar spine, hip, and knee joints contribute increasingly. Finally, PET provides a promising alternative or supplement to existing methods to assess muscle activation in complex human movements.

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