Biomechanical Aspects of Push-Off Techniques in Speed Skating the Curves

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Ruud W. de Boer
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Gertjan J.C. Ettema
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Hans van Gorkum
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Gert de Groot
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Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau
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Characteristics of stroke mechanics of elite and trained speed skaters were measured during the skating of curves. Film and video analysis from the 5000-meter races at the Dutch National Championships yielded biomechanical variables that were correlated to performance. There are fundamental differences in push-off mechanics between skating the straight parts and skating the curves. The left stroke shows a more powerful push-off in the curve, caused by a greater push off angle compared to the right leg. The high speed and power output of the better skaters is a result of a high amount of work per stroke, caused by a short and effective directed push-off. These results strongly support the previous finding that skaters of different performance levels can be distinguished by differences in amount of work per stroke and not by differences in stroke frequency.

The authors are with the Dept. of Functional Anatomy and Workinggroup of Exercise Physiology and Health, Interfaculty of Physical Education, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Direct all correspondence to Ruud W. de Boer, Workinggroup of Exercise Physiology and Health, Academisch Medisch Centrum, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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