Skip navigation

How Technique-Specific VO2 Max Affects Racing Performance

The Science of Skiing

Mon, Jul  24, 2006 - By Jenny Ryan, Phil Watts & Randy Jenson, NMU

Jenny Ryan (Northern Michigan University Assistant Nordic Ski Coach) and her colleagues Phil Watts and Randy Jenson recently gave a presentation of original research at the International Congress on Science and Nordic Skiing in Vuokatti, Finland about how technique-specific VO2 Max can impact overall cross country ski performance.

Related Links
Ryan mentions the book Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science - Cross Country Skiing by Heikki Rusko. If you're interested in the science of cross country skiing, this is a great book. I've been meaning to write a review but simply haven't had the time.


You can read Jenny's research findings here: Changes in Technique-Specific VO2 Max and Competitive Performance in Collegiate Cross-Country Skiers, a one-page PDF file.

Here's a summary I've written:

Five male and five female collegiate cross country ski racers had their max V02 measured while (1) skating and (2) doublepoling on a rollerski treadmill. This set of tests were performed just prior to race season and again at the end of race season.

The test results were compared to each individual’s performance, determined by their USSA Points.

The results showed that women had a statistically significantly increase in both their doublepoling VO2 max and their USSA performance between the two time periods. Male athletes did not see a significantly increase in either doublepoling or their performance. There were no significant differences for either group with skating V02 max.

The results suggest improving V02 max associated with doublepoling can improve race performance.

What does this mean for your training? It suggests that doing V02 max doublepole workouts (e.g., 4 x 3:00 to 4:00 doublepole intervals at 90% of your max heart rate or higher) can benefit your overall skiing performance.

Phil Watts is Professor of Exercise Physiology and Randy Jenson is Professor in Exercise and Sport Science at NMU. The International Congress on Science and Nordic Skiing was held June 18-20, 2006.

  -- Mike Muha