OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Performance-Related Characteristics of Elite Short Track Speed Skaters


Chanel Catunao


Title: PERFORMANCE-RELATED CHARACTERISITICS OF ELITE SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATERS Authors: Chanel Catunao, Jason Ng, Nicole Dabbs, Biomechanics and Sport Performance Laboratory, California State University - San Bernardino, San Bernardino CA 92407 Athletes want to improve overall performance to reach elite levels. Having a standard performance profile available to athletes for specific sports is a beneficial resource for training. However, there are sports that do not have available resources to be used as reference, such as short track speed skating. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate multiple performance-related characteristics of elite short track speed skaters: balance, vertical jump, voluntary maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), anaerobic power, and forward flexion. METHODS: Ten male (mean ± SD; age = 21.1 ± 1.9 yrs; height = 177.2 ± 5.3 cm; weight = 71.4 ± 4.8 kg) and five female (age = 22.8 ± 1.3 yrs; height = 169.1 ± 4.3 cm; weight = 60.5 ± 1.4 kg) elite short track speed skaters, defined as competing with a national team, volunteered to participate in one day of testing. All athletes signed an IRB approved informed consent, and then completed a PAR-Q and health questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements were recorded followed by a dynamic warm-up. Single leg balance assessment using the Biodex Balance SD was performed first on an unstable surface for twenty seconds for a total of three trials on each leg. The overall sway index score was recorded for analysis. The second test was the vertical jump test in which participants performed three countermovement jumps on an AMTI force plate and Vertec. Next, participants performed the Wingate anaerobic cycling test with a load of 9 g/kg of body weight. Following a 10-min rest, VO2max was assessed on a treadmill with open-circuit spirometry. Lastly, participants performed three trials of a flexibility test on a sit-and-reach box and the best score was used. SPSS 24 was used to analyze descriptive statistics for all dependent variables. RESULTS: The balance overall sway index (male: left leg = 1.35 ± 0.44, right leg = 1.29 ± 0.36; female: left leg = 0.76 ± 0.19, right leg = 0.84 ± 0.17) has no normative data available. In the vertical jump test, peak power was categorized as average for males and above average for females (male = 5062.3 ± 1497.4 W; female = 5062.3 ± 1497.4 W). Wingate relative peak power was categorized as well above average for both males and females (male = 11.8 ± 0.8 W/kg; female = 14.7 ± 1.4 W/kg). Relative VO2max was categorized as good for males and above average for females (male = 53.6 ± 3.2 ml/kg/min; female = 44.55 ± 3.1 ml/kg/min). Flexibility was categorized as excellent for both males and females (male = 42.9 ± 5.2 cm; female = 44.7 ± 3.7 cm). CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that short track speed skaters are efficient in multiple performance tests. The excellent rating for flexibility and anaerobic relative peak power explains the specific sport performance characteristic involved in short track speed skating. Balance may not have normative data available; however, it is likely an essential component when skating on ice. Peak power from the vertical jump can be beneficial for explosive starts. Aerobic performance can be important in assisting with training as a recovery method. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Practitioners, such as strength and conditioning specialists, may use these results as a reference in order to optimize exercise programming for a short track speed skater.

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