Is There an Optimal Pole Length for Double Poling in Cross Country Skiing?

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The aim of this study was to determine the effects of pole length on energy cost and kinematics in cross country double poling. Seven sub-elite male athletes were tested using pole sets of different lengths (ranging between 77% and 98% of participants’ body height). Tests were conducted on a treadmill, set to a 2% incline and an approximate racing speed. Poling forces, contact times, and oxygen uptake were measured throughout the testing. Pole length was positively correlated with ground contact time (r = .57, p < .001) and negatively correlated with poling frequency (r = −.48, p = .003). Pole length was also positively correlated with pole recovery time and propulsive impulse produced per poling cycle (r = .36, p = .031; r = .35, p = .042, respectively). Oxygen uptake and pole length were negatively correlated (r = −.51, p = .004). This acute study shows that increasing pole length for double poling in sub-elite cross country skiers under the given conditions seems to change the poling mechanics in distinct ways, resulting in a more efficient poling action by decreasing an athlete’s metabolic cost.

Onasch is with the Institut für Sportwissenschaft, JLU Gießen, Hessen, Germany. Killick and Herzog are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Walter Herzog at wherzog@ucalgary.ca.
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