Endurance training and sprint performance in elite junior cross-country skiers

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 May;25(5):1299-305. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d82d11.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between aerobic characteristics and sprint skiing performance, and the effects of high-intensity endurance training on sprint skiing performance and aerobic characteristics. Ten male and 5 female elite junior cross-country skiers performed an 8-week intervention training period. The intervention group (IG, n = 7) increased the volume of high-intensity endurance training performed in level terrain, whereas the control group (CG, n = 8) continued their baseline training. Before and after the intervention period, the skiers were tested for 1.5-km time-trial performance on roller skis outdoors in the skating technique. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO₂max) and oxygen uptake at the ventilatory threshold (VO₂VT) were measured during treadmill running. VO₂max and VO₂VT were closely related to sprint performance (r = ~0.75, both p < 0.008). The IG improved sprint performance, VO₂max, and VO₂VT from pre to posttesting and improved sprint performance and VO₂VT when compared to the CG (all p < 0.01). This study shows a close relationship between aerobic power and sprint performance in cross-country skiing and highlights the positive effects of high-intensity endurance training in level terrain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Running / physiology
  • Skiing / physiology*
  • Time Factors