We are now in the first autumn month, and the winter is fast approaching. For some, this is a sad part of the year, but for others (like me) winter is something to look forward to. We have the woods with all its beautiful colors, the excitement of the first approaching snow and a chance to try out our new cross country skis.
We know that in cross country skiing both the upper and the lower body play an important performance role. Therefore, in active skiers both the upper and lower body muscles are well trained. However, several research studies have shown that the response to exercise differs between the upper body and the lower body.
Cross country skiers typically measure their lactate levels during training to ensure that they are training at the correct intensity. AM Hegge and colleagues found that blood lactate values were significantly higher in skiers during submaximal poling (standing on skies and propelling themselves forward with poles) compared to cycling at the same rating of perceived exertion. A broader understanding of this phenomenon is important for guiding active skiers to use the correct intensity zones during their training.
Another research report by KM Lundgren and colleagues reported that athletes who exercise using upper body can do much more high intensity exercise and strength training compared to athletes only using the legs. The specific reason behind this phenomenon is unclear. For that reason, we are planning more studies to investigate this occurrence.
Arnt Erik Tjønna, Senior engineer/Researcher at CERG