Objectives: The purpose of this study was to document the longitudinal strength and power characteristic changes and race performance changes of a skeleton athlete. Method: Longitudinal strength and power changes were assessed with strength and power diagnostic testing over a 9-year period. Trends over 9 years for relative strength were analyzed using a linear model. Push-start time was recorded across multiple tracks. Trends over 9 years for start performance at each track were assessed using a mixed-effects linear model to account for the impact of different tracks. Lower-body strength and power changes were assessed via a 1-repetition-maximum squat and a body-weight countermovement jump. The relationship between strength and power changes was assessed over time. The relationship between strength changes and start performance was determined by assessing the fixed effect of relative strength changes on push-start time. Results: Relative lower-body strength ranged from 1.6 kg per body weight to 1.9 kg per body weight and showed a significant mean improvement of 0.05 kg per body weight per year (R2 = .71, P < .01). A negative correlation (R2 = .79) between relative strength changes and push-start performance across multiple tracks was found. The mixed-effects model indicated that push-start time improved significantly year to year (0.02 s; P < .001; R2 = .74) when controlling for the effect of track. Conclusions: The longitudinal analysis of push-start time and the associations with changes in strength suggest that training this quality can have a positive effect on push-start performance.
The authors are with the Queensland Academy of Sport, Sunnybank, QLD, Australia, and NSW Rugby, Daceyville, NSW, Australia.
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