OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Strength Profile of Elite Speed Skaters


The purpose of this study was to describe the strength profile of elite level short track speed skaters. Methods: Ten healthy males (mean ± SD; age = 22.1 ± 1.8 y, height = 177.2 ± 5.2 cm, mass = 71.3 ± 4.8 kg) and five healthy female (age = 22.8 ± 1.3 y, height = 169.1 ± 4.3 cm, mass = 60.4 ± 1.3 kg) elite short track speed skaters—defined as current members of a national team— participated in one day of testing. Assessments included maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and isokinetic torque production (ISOK) of the hamstrings (HAM) and quadriceps (QUAD). Each participant signed a university approved IRB informed consent prior to performance tests. A dynamic warm-up was completed followed by maximal torque production measurements on the right (R) and left (L) knee extensors and flexors using the Biodex System 4 isokinetic dynamometer. To assess ISOK torque, participants completed one set of five repetitions of knee flexion and extension of each leg with no rest in between repetitions at a velocity of 60/s. Unilateral MVIC was assessed by having participants maximally flex the knee joint of one leg against stationary arm at a 60 angle for three seconds followed by a five second rest period. Maximal knee extension at the same joint angle was additionally performed for the same amount of time and rest. This pattern was performed three times per each leg. Maximal values of torque from the trials and hamstring-quadriceps ratio (HQR) was calculated for both legs and used for analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated using IBM SPSS 24. All dependent variables are expressed in Nm. Results: The ISOK torque values for males were: QUAD-R: 226.60 ± 46.55; QUAD-L: 208.74 ± 37.44; HAM-R: 116.63 ± 13.0; HAM-L: 115.92 ± 19.36. Females presented with the following ISOK torque: QUAD-R: 176.33 ± 19.98; QUAD-L: 159.50 ± 24.62; HAM-R: 84.29 ± 12.7; HAM-L: 89.76 ± 6.63. The MVIC values for males were: QUAD-R: 198.27 ± 33.53; QUAD-L: 188.61 ± 28.96; HAM-R: 116.23 ± 22.90; HAM-L: 114.24 ± 20.73. The MVIC values for females were: QUAD-R: 171.27 ± 37.49; QUAD-L: 152.37 ± 30.48; HAM-R: 99.42 ± 13.67; HAM-L: 93.20 ± 9.37. HQR ratios are reported in Table 1. Conclusions: Research suggests that normal HQR range from .31 to .80 and that healthy ratios range from .50 to .80. The results in the current study show that this population had HQR ranging from 0.47 to 0.62, which represents a 37-52% difference between HAM and QUAD. Elite short-track speed skaters fall within the healthy HQR ranges. Practical Application: Practitioners who work with short-track speed skaters can reference this data to evaluate their athletes compared to elite levels. It is also important to assess these athletes’ strength in order to identify areas of weakness and create regimens that will optimize performance whilst minimizing the risk of injury.

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