The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of speed on the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) behavior during roller ski skating. Ten highly skilled male cross-country skiers roller skied at 4.56, 5.33 m · s–1 and maximal speed using the V2-alternate technique on a flat terrain. Knee and ankle joint kinematics, and EMG of the vastus lateralis (VL) and gastrocnemius lateralis (GL) muscles were recorded during the last 40 s of each bout of roller skiing. Maximal speed was associated with increases in cycle rate combined with decreases in cycle length. For VL, no significant differences were observed for the integrated EMG eccentric-to-concentric ratio (iEMG Ecc/Conc) and for the stretching velocity over the range of speeds. For GL, stretching velocity and iEMG Ecc/Conc were significantly greater at maximal speed. The analysis of GL EMG activity suggests that speed improved GL stiffness so that more elastic energy was stored, a better force transmission occurred, and coupling time decreased. These findings suggest that the efficiency of roller ski skating locomotion may be increased with speed through a better use of the stretch-shortening cycle pattern in the ankle extensors.
Stéphane Perrey, Guillaume Millet, Robin Candau and Jean-Denis Rouillon
Nicolas Fabre, Stéphane Perrey, Loïc Arbez and Jean-Denis Rouillon
This study aimed (1) to determine whether paced breathing (synchronization of the expiration phase with poling time) would reduce the metabolic rate and dictate a lower rate of perceived exertion (RPE) than does spontaneous breathing and (2) to analyze the effects of paced breathing on poling forces and stride-mechanics organization during roller-ski skating exercises.
Thirteen well-trained cross-country skiers performed 8 submaximal roller-skiing exercises on a motorized driven treadmill with 4 modes of skiing (2 skating techniques, V2 and V2A, at 2 exercise intensities) by using 2 patterns of breathing (unconscious vs conscious). Poling forces and stride-mechanics organization were measured with a transducer mounted in ski poles. Oxygen uptake (VO2) was continuously collected. After each bout of exercise RPE was assessed by the subject.
No difference was observed for VO2 between spontaneous and paced breathing conditions, although RPE was lower with paced breathing (P < .05). Upper-limb cycle time and recovery time were significantly (P < .05) increased by paced breathing during V2A regardless of the exercise intensity, but no changes for poling time were observed. A slight trend of increased peak force with paced breathing was observed (P = .055).
The lack of a marked effect of paced breathing on VO2 and some biomechanical variables could be explained by the extensive experience of our subjects in cross-country skiing.