Macro-kinematic differences between Sprint and Distance cross-country skiing competitions using the classical technique

Finn Marsland, Judith Anson, Gordon Waddington, Hans Christer Holmberg, Dale W. Chapman

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    We compare the macro-kinematics of six elite female cross-country skiers competing in 1.1-km Sprint and 10.5-km Distance classical technique events on consecutive days under similar weather and track conditions. The relative use of double pole (DP), kick-double pole (KDP), diagonal stride (DS), tucking (Tuck) and turning (Turn) sub-techniques, plus each technique's respective velocities, cycle lengths and cycle rates were monitored using a single micro-sensor unit worn by each skier during the Sprint qualification, semi-final and finals, and multiple laps of the Distance race. Over a 1.0-km section of track common to both Sprint and Distance events, the mean race velocity, cyclical sub-technique velocities, and cycle rates were higher during the Sprint race, while Tuck and Turn velocities were similar. Velocities with KDP and DS on the common terrain were higher in the Sprint (KDP +12%, DS +23%) due to faster cycle rates (KDP +8%, DS +11%) and longer cycle lengths (KDP +5%, DS +10%), while the DP velocity was higher (+8%) with faster cycle rate (+16%) despite a shorter cycle length (-9%). During the Sprint the percentage of total distance covered using DP was greater (+15%), with less use of Tuck (-19%). Across all events and rounds, DP was the most used sub-technique in terms of distance, followed by Tuck, DS, Turn and KDP. KDP was employed relatively little, and during the Sprint by only half the participants. Tuck was the fastest sub-technique followed by Turn, DP, KDP, and DS. These findings reveal differences in the macro-kinematic characteristics and strategies utilized during Sprint and Distance events, confirm the use of higher cycle rates in the Sprint, and increase our understanding of the performance demands of cross-country skiing competition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number570
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalFrontiers in Physiology
    Issue numberMAY
    Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2018


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