Olympic skiers in the women's 30-km race were analyzed as they double poled on a moderate downhill slope. Movement patterns of 20 skiers were analyzed 10 from a top finishing group and 10 from slower finishers in the bottom third of the field. Skiers in the faster group not only were faster overall in the race but were faster as they double poled through the site (6.75 vs. 6.43 m/s). Cycle length was significantly correlated with cycle velocity (r = .81). Trunk flexion and shoulder extension during poling were similar between groups; however, considerable variability of shoulder positioning was noted for both groups of skiers. Distinct shoulder-elbow-pole positioning differences were noted among skiers. Disadvantageous positionin» of the shoulder at the beginning of poling was related to poorer pole inclination during elbow extension. While many skiers in both fast and slow groups double poled with good positioning, others would benefit from greater shoulder flexion to maximize double poling performance.
The authors are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.