Bosio A1, Carlomagno D1, Tornaghi M1, Manzoni R2, Panzeri A2, Rampinini E1

1, Mapei Sport Research Center, Olgiate Olona, Italy;2, Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali, Milan, Italy

Introduction Physical and technical abilities are important factors for alpine skiing performance. Races are high-intensity exercises of short duration (60-120s) requiring repeated high-force isometric and eccentric contractions (Ferguson, 2010). Aerobic capacity, strength, power and muscle fatigue are all considered crucial for success but limited information is available on top level and elite athletes (Neumayr et al., 2003). The aim of this study was to compare World Cup (WC) and European Cup (EC) skiers. Methods At the end of the preparation period, 26 male (12 WC and 14 EC) and 20 female (9 WC and 11 EC) skiers performed a peripheral knee extensors (KE) neuromuscular assessment, a counter-movement jump test (CMJ) and an incremental cycling  test to exhaustion. Athletes also completed a specific test consisting of 3 sets of eccentric/concentric fixed workloads normalized per body weight with durations of 20, 60 and 90 s on a custom-built isokinetic horizontal leg press (LP). Decrements (baseline to after 90s LP) in CMJ and KE evoked twitches were used as a measure of fatiguability. Comparisons between WC and EC were assessed for each gender. Data was analyzed using a magnitude-based inference approach. Percent differences (±90% confidence interval) and Cohen’s d are presented. Results An almost certain difference in age was found for males (33±8%, 1.66) and females (36±18%, 1.97). Differences in anthropometric, O2 peak and peak power output during incremental test were unclear in both genders (trivial/small d). CMJ height reported a very likely difference only in males after 90s LP (11±8%, 0.90). CMJ absolute peak power differences were very likely (12±9%, 0.89) after 90s LP for males and likely (-7±9%, -0.55) at baseline, but unclear (-3±10%, -0.22) after 90s LP for females. CMJ absolute peak force differences were unclear at baseline (males 5±9%, 0.30; females 5±8%, 0.42) and became very likely for males (12±8%, 1.01) and likely for females (11±10%, 0.81) after 90s LP. Evoked KE peak torque differences after 90s LP were very likely for both males (73±60%, 1.00) and females (57±96%, 0.51). Discussion Strength and power levels of WC and EC skiers were not substantially different at baseline in most of the investigated parameters. However, sizable differences between the two groups, detected after 90s LP, suggest lower levels of fatiguability in both male and female WC skiers. The longer period of specific practice for WC skiers can be a factor explaining the present findings. References Ferguson RA. (2010). Exp Physiol 95(3),404-10  Neumayr G, Hoertnagl H, Pfister R, Koller A, Eibl G, Raas . (2003).

Int J Sports Med, 24,571-75