Sport specific strength in alpine competitive skiing : What characterizes alpine elite skiers?

University essay from Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH/Institutionen för fysisk aktivitet och hälsa

Abstract: Introduction: Alpine skiing has changed since the 1990s and it is unclear what sport specific strength is within modern alpine elite skiing. Purpose: The aim of this study was to create a strength profile and to investigate what sport specific strength is within alpine elite skiers. Method: A total number of 24 participant took part in this cross-sectional study, where eleven alpine elite skiers were compared with thirteen well-trained strength athletes with different sports background. The participants were tested in squat jump (SJ), counter movement jump (CMJ), drop jump (DJ) as well as isometric, isokinetic concentric and isokinetic eccentric strength with different dynamic velocities. In addition to these tests, reaction strength index (RSI) and eccentric utilization ratio (EUR) were calculated. Correlation analyses were performed to investigate if there were any relationships between the jump test variables and the isometric and eccentric strength tests. Results: The SKI group jumped higher in relation to their bodyweight (BW) in SJ (P>0,01), CMJ (P>0,05) and DJ (P>0,01). The SKI group also showed significantly higher RSI values (P>0,05). For the strength tests, the SKI group performed significantly better in all the eccentric velocities (P>0,05), the isometric test (P>0,01) and in the slowest concentric velocity (P>0,01). The SKI group showed significantly higher strength values (P>0,05) in relative isometric strength with knee angles between 20°-60°, where the largest significant difference appeared at 25° (P>0,001). No significant differences were found in the absolute values in either the jump or the strength tests. Only moderate (r=0,30-0,49) significant (P>0,05) correlations were found between the fastest eccentric tests and the SJ and DJ within all athletes. No significant correlations were found within the SKI group alone. Conclusion: This study presented evidence that sport specific strength for alpine elite skiers may primarily consist of isometric strength, training in slow concentric velocities and general eccentric training. The results indicate that the sport specific strength for alpine elite skiers does not include concentric training in moderate and fast concentric movements.

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