Article

Upper-body anthropometric and strength measures and their relationship to start time in elite luge athletes.

Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Impact Factor: 1.86). 08/2011; 25(10):2639-44. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318207ed7a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Start time has been shown to be a significant predictor of overall performance in the sport of luge. The starting motion in luge has been described as an explosive upper-body movement that requires significant technique and skill to perfect. This study aims to investigate upper-body factors that may relate to start time in luge. Twenty-two subjects participated in the study as part of their normal off-season training. Each subject had a minimum of 3 years' experience in the sport of luge, and at the time was a member of a U.S. Luge National Team. Subjects completed a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in the bench press (BP), prone row (PR), and weighted pull-up (WP). Anthropometric distances were taken measuring finger-tip span (FS), biacromial breadth (BB), acromio-radial length, acromio-olecranon length (AO), hand length, and sitting cervical height. Subjects were divided into 2 groups based on which U.S. Luge National team they were currently a member of, Senior National (SN, n = 13) and Junior National (JN, n = 9). A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient showed several significant (p ≤ 0.05) relationships between upper-body variables and start time among the groups. The BP and PR 1RM were shown to have a significant relationship in both groups. Among the anthropometric variables, AO was also significant in both groups. The WP, FS, BB, and height were all shown to have a significant relationship with start time in the SN group, but not in the JN group. These results suggest that as luge athletes become more efficient in the starting technique, outside factors such as upper-body strength and anthropometric measures play a larger role in performance.

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