Benefits of blood flow restriction trainings for Alpine skiing sport

PhD O.N. Zinoviev1
M.M. Gromov2
I.V. Bobrov2
1Baltic State Technical University “VOENMEH” named after D.F. Ustinov, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: Alpine skiing, physical fitness, injury incidence in sports, blood flow restriction training.

Introduction. Alpine skiing is associated with a high risk of injury incidence during both training and competitive activities. To date, about 96% of world-class athletes have received moderate and severe injuries just for once [2]. Among the most common types of traumas are lower limb injuries with joint damage, in particular the knee joint (ligament rupture, meniscus damage) one, being on the top of the list. This is explained by the fact that an athlete is going into a corner in a non-physiological position and experiences both shock stress and vibration, which has a negative impact on the knee joints and spine.

This needs to be considered when organizing training sessions in pre-season. But, unfortunately, the means to develop speed-strength, strength and speed abilities used by most trainers adversely affect the ligaments and joints of the musculoskeletal system. In this view, new training methods need to be developed for Alpine skiers that would compensate for the negative impact of competitive exercises on the athlete's body.

Objective of the study was to determine the benefits of blood flow restriction trainings for Alpine skiing sport.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was conducted in the pre-season and involved the members of the Saint Petersburg Alpine skiing team (I Class, CMS, MS) (n=16). They were split into the Experimental and Reference groups, 8 people each. Experimental group was made of 4 females, 4 males, while the Reference group included 3 females and 5 males.

The process of athletic training aimed to develop the muscle strength of the lower limb girdle differed in the Experimental and Reference groups by the curriculum. The strength building means used for the athletes were the same in both of the groups. Physical load dosage: in the Reference group - 70% of the maximum and more; in the Experimental group - small and medium weights (20–50% of the maximum) plus a barocuff (135 mm), which was fixed on the upper part of the limb to maintain  the blood pressure from 100 to 240 mmHg when performing strength exercises.

The Alpine skiers’ physical fitness (PhF) was tested prior to and after the experiment by the following tests: “Squats with maximal weight (kg)” (1 back squat with the knee angle under 90 degrees); and “Box jumps (reps)” (the 90-second stand (51cm high) jumps (count), with alternating jump sides. The test data were evaluated on the “Ironman” rating scale developed to assess the physical fitness level of the Alpine skiers.

Results and discussion. The main study results involved the athletes’ strength and strength endurance test rates (Table 1-6).

Table 1. Test results in the Experimental group prior to experiment

Athlete

Sole weight (kg)

Maximal squat (kg)

Points

Box jumps (reps)

Points

Point total

St. Ye.

70

90

44

81

70

114

Kud. Ye.

71

90

44

72

18

62

Khar. V.

77

92.5

50

66

0

50

Rum. Ye.

61

75

11

56

0

11

Bil. G.

65.5

110

0

98

102

102

Bud. P.

72.5

140

50

85

32

82

Nov. I.

73.5

110

0

90

59

59

Kuz. A.

83.3

120

17

77

0

17

Table 2. Test results in the Reference group prior to experiment

Athlete

Sole weight (kg)

Maximal squat (kg)

Points

Box jumps (reps)

Points

Point total

Khar. A.

67.5

80

22

80

64

86

Gus. Ye.

63

65

0

78

53

53

Nik. Ye.

64

65

0

71

12

12

Lim S.

68.5

150

67

98

102

169

Ter. D.

74.5

105

0

101

118

118

Vor. D.

77.9

120

17

94

81

98

Mesh. S.

63.5

80

0

81

11

11

St. S.

71

90

0

81

11

11

Table 3. Test results in the Experimental group after experiment

Athlete

Sole weight (kg)

Maximal squat (kg)

Points

Box jumps (reps)

Points

Point total

St. Ye.

68

95

56

86

99

155

Kud. Ye.

68

95

56

76

41

97

Khar. V.

76

97.5

61

70

6

67

Rum. Ye.

62

82.5

28

71

12

40

Bil. G.

66

120

17

99

108

125

Bud. P.

74

147.5

63

91

65

128

Nov. I.

73

115

8

94

81

89

Kuz. A.

80.5

125

25

81

11

26

Table 4. Test results in the Reference group after experiment

Athlete

Sole weight (kg)

Maximal squat (kg)

Points

Box jumps (reps)

Points

Point total

Khar. A.

65.5

85

33

84

88

121

Gus. Ye.

63

72.5

6

79

58

64

Nik. Ye.

64

70

0

76

41

41

Lim S.

69.5

155

75

100

113

188

Ter. D.

76.5

112.5

4

101

118

122

Vor. D.

75

127.5

29

97

97

126

Mesh. S.

65

90

0

84

27

27

St. S.

70

105

0

86

38

38

Table 5. Significance of differences prior to and after experiment

Reference Group

Experimental Group

Wemp = 0

Wemp = 0

р<0.01

р<0.01

Table 6. Significance of inter-group differences

Before the experiment

After the experiment

Uemp = 31

Uemp = 30

р>0.05

р>0.05

 

The study found that throughout the pre-season the level of development of strength abilities and strength endurance increased significantly in the athletes from the Reference (p<0.01) and Experimental groups (p<0.01), which indicates the effectiveness of both training methods. The differences in the test rates between the groups prior to and after the experiment were not statistically significant (p>0.05), which indicates the equivalent effectiveness of the means and methods used to develop the athletes strength abilities.

Conclusion. The study showed the meaningful positive effect of both generally accepted training model to develop strength abilities in Alpine skiers and blood flow restriction training [1], manifested in the significant increase in the maximum strength and strength endurance test rates. Based on the above, it can be concluded that it is advisable to use blood flow restriction training in pre-season to maintain Alpine skiers’ health, reduce injury incidence and compensate for the negative impact of shock stress and vibration on their musculoskeletal system without reducing the training process effectiveness.

References

  1. Official website of Norway national Alpine skiing team [electronic resource]. Available at: https://www.skiforbundet.no. Date of access: 10.05.2018.
  2. Samsonova A.V., Tokmakova E.P. Gipoksicheskaya silovaya trenirovka (kaatsu training) [Hypoxic strength training (kaatsu training)]. Trudy kafedry biomekhaniki universiteta im. P.F. Lesgafta, 2016, no. 1 (10), pp. 32-36.

Corresponding author: nik.zinoviev@mail.ru

 

Abstract

Modern Alpine skiing sport reports the highest injury statistics due to the athletes being exposed to the high-intensity shocks and vibrations of negative impact on the body on the whole and the knee joints and spine in particular. That is why the sport community gives a special priority to new training systems to scale down the health risks. The study was designed to test benefits of the traditional strength training versus the blood flow restriction training models in the Alpine skiing sport. Sampled for the model testing experiment were the members of the Saint Petersburg Alpine skiing team (n=16) who had their physical fitness tested prior to and after the experiment by the following tests: squats with maximal weight with knee angle under 90 degrees; and the 90-second stand (51cm high) jumps (count), with alternating jump sides.

The study showed meaningful benefits of both of the training models, with the blood flow restriction trainings recommended for application in the Alpine skiing sport to minimize the negative impacts on the knee joints by controlled-weight practices.