Training-related changes in force-power profiles: Implications for the skeleton start

Steffi L. Colyer, Keith A. Stokes, James L.J. Bilzon, Danny Holdcroft, Aki I.T. Salo

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Purpose: Athletes' force-power characteristics influence sled velocity during the skeleton start, which is a crucial determinant of performance. This study characterized force-power profile changes across an 18-month period and investigated the associations between these changes and start performance. Methods: Seven elite- and 5 talent-squad skeleton athletes' (representing 80% of registered athletes in the country) force-power profiles and dry-land push-track performances were assessed at multiple time points over two 6-month training periods and one 5-month competition season. Force-power profiles were evaluated using an incremental leg-press test (Keiser A420), and 15-m sled velocity was recorded using photocells. Results: Across the initial maximum strength development phases, increases in maximum force (Fmax) and decreases in maximum velocity (Vmax) were typically observed. These changes were greater for talent (23.6% and-12.5%, respectively) compared with elite (6.1% and-7.6%, respectively) athletes. Conversely, decreases in Fmax (elite-6.7% and talent-10.3%) and increases in Vmax (elite 8.1% and talent 7.7%) were observed across the winter period, regardless of whether athletes were competing (elite) or accumulating sliding experience (talent).When the training emphasis shifted toward higher-velocity, sprint-based exercises in the second training season, force-power profiles seemed to becomemore velocity oriented (higher Vmax andmore negative force-velocity gradient), which was associated with greater improvements in sled velocity (r = .42 and-.45, respectively). Conclusions: These unique findings demonstrate the scope to influence force-power-generating capabilities in well-trained skeleton athletes across different training phases. To enhance start performance, it seems important to place particular emphasis on increasing maximum muscle-contraction velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-419
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number4
Early online date5 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Athletes
  • Ice track
  • Leg press
  • Neuromuscular adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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