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Bjarne Rud, Eivind Øygard, Even B. Dahl, Gøran Paulsen, and Thomas Losnegard

Purpose: We tested whether a single session of heavy-load resistance priming conducted in the morning improved double-poling (DP) performance in the afternoon. Methods: Eight national-level male cross-country skiers (mean [SD]: 23 [3] y, 184 [6] cm, 73 [7] kg, maximum oxygen consumption = 69 [6] mL·kg−1·min−1) carried out 2 days of afternoon performance tests. In the morning, 5 hours before tests, subjects were counterbalanced to either a session of 3 × 3 repetitions (approximately 85%–90% 1-repetition maximum) of squat and sitting pullover exercises or no exercise. The performance was evaluated in DP as time to exhaustion (TTE) (approximately 3 min) on a treadmill and 30-m indoor sprints before and after TTE (30-m DP pre/post). Furthermore, submaximal DP oxygen cost, countermovement jump, and isometric knee-extension force during electrical stimulation were conducted. Participants reported perceived readiness on test days. Results: Resistance exercise session versus no exercise did not differ for TTE (approximately 3 min above) (mean ± 95% confidence interval = 3.6% ± 6.0%; P = .29; effect size [ES], Cohen d = 0.27), 30-m DP pre (−0.56% ± 0.80%; P = .21; ES = 0.20), 30-m DP post (−0.18% ± 1.13%; P = .76; ES = 0.03), countermovement jump (−2.0% ± 2.8%; P = .21; ES = 0.12), DP oxygen cost (−0.13% ± 2.04%; P = .91; ES = 0.02), or perceived readiness (P ≥ .11). Electrical stimulation force was not different in contraction or relaxation time but revealed low-frequency fatigue in the afternoon for the resistance exercise session only (−12% [7%]; P = .01; ES = 1.3). Conclusion: A single session of heavy-load, low-volume resistance exercise in the morning did not increase afternoon DP performance of short duration in high-level skiers. However, leg low-frequency fatigue after resistance priming, together with the presence of small positive effects in 2 out of 3 DP tests, may indicate that the preconditioning was too strenuous.

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Even Brøndbo Dahl, Eivind Øygard, Gøran Paulsen, Bjarne Rud, and Thomas Losnegard

Purpose: Preconditioning exercise is a widely used strategy believed to enhance performance later the same day. The authors examined the influence of preconditioning exercises 6 hours prior to a time-to-exhaustion (TTE) test during treadmill running. Methods: Ten male competitive runners (age = 26 [3] y, height = 184 [8] cm, weight = 73 [9] kg, maximum oxygen consumption = 72 [7] mL·kg−1·min−1) did a preconditioning session of running (RUN) or resistance exercise (RES) or no morning exercise (NoEx) in a randomized order, separated by >72 hours. The RUN consisted of 15 minutes of low-intensity running and 4 × 15 seconds at race pace (21–24 km·h−1) on a treadmill; RES involved 5 minutes of low-intensity running and 2 × 3 repetitions of isokinetic 1-leg shallow squats with maximal mobilization. Following a 6-hour break, electrically evoked force (m. vastus medialis), countermovement jump, running economy, and a TTE of approximately 2 minutes were examined. Results: Relative to NoEx, no difference was seen for RUN or RES in TTE (mean ± 95% CI: −1.3% ± 3.4% and −0.5% ± 6.0%) or running economy (0.2% ± 1.6% and 1.9% ± 2.7%; all Ps > .05). Jump height was not different for the RUN condition (1.0% ± 2.7%]) but tended to be higher in RES than in the NoEx condition (1.5% ± 1.6%, P = .07). The electrically evoked force tended to reveal low-frequency fatigue (reduced 20:50-Hz peak force ratio) only after RES compared to NoEx (−4.5% ± 4.6%, P = .06). Conclusion: The RUN or RES 6 hours prior to approximately 2 minutes of TTE running test did not improve performance in competitive runners.

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Erik Trøen, Bjarne Rud, Øyvind Karlsson, Camilla Høivik Carlsen, Matthias Gilgien, Gøran Paulsen, Ola Kristoffer Tosterud, and Thomas Losnegard

Purpose: To investigate how self-selected pole length (PL) of ∼84% (PL84%) compared with ∼90% (PL90%) of body height influenced performance during a 700-m time trial with undulating terrain on snow. Methods: Twenty-one cross-country skiers, 7 of whom were women, performed 4 trials at a maximal effort in a counterbalanced fashion with PL84% and PL90% separated by 20-minute breaks between trials. In trials I and II, only double poling was allowed, while in trials III and IV, skiers used self-selected classical subtechniques. Continuous speed, cyclic parameters, and heart rate were collected using microsensors in addition to a post-time-trial rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Results: The 700-m times with only double poling were significantly shorter with PL90% than PL84% (mean ± 95% confidence limits –1.6% ± 1.0%). Segment analyses showed higher speed with PL90% in uphill sections than with PL84% (3.7% ± 2.1%), with the greatest difference found for the female skiers (5.6% ± 2.9%). In contrast, on flat terrain at high skiing speeds, speed was reduced with PL90% compared with PL84% (–1.5% ± 1.4%); this was only significant for the male skiers. During free choice of classical subtechniques, PL did not influence performance in any segments, choice of subtechnique, or cycle rate during the trials. No differences in rating of perceived exertion or heart rate between PLs were found. Conclusions: PL90% improved performance in uphills at low speeds when using double poling but hindered performance on flat terrain and at higher speeds compared with self-selected PLs. Choice of PL should, therefore, be based on racecourse topography, preferred subtechniques, and the skier’s physiological and technical abilities.