Functional fitness control by coach in cross-country skiing sport

Dr.Med., Associate Professor  V.P. Vlasova1
PhD, Associate Professor L.E. Ignatieva1
PhD N.A. Komarova1
PhD A.R. Mamaev1
1Mordovian State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Evsevyev, Saransk

Keywords: management, functional fitness, trainer, athletes, cross-country skiing, ergogenic diets, rehabilitation, L-carnitine

Introduction. Among the most urgent and challenging problems of athletic training in cross-country skiing is management of physiological reserves of the body of athletes [5-7].

The work of a cross-country skier requires a high level of development of overall and speed endurance. In order to maintain speed throughout the distance, the skier needs to repeatedly push off with his legs and hands, develop muscle strength and strength endurance. The prerequisite for the performance effectiveness during prolonged work is the continuous delivery of oxygen to the muscles. During cross-country skiing, all the main muscles of the body are involved in the work, which at long distances leads to a large oxygen demand. It exceeds the oxygen demand during other forms of work of the same duration and intensity. The efficiency of oxygen delivery to the muscles is ensured by the tension of the cardiorespiratory system. On average, heart rate during racing on the plain is 160-170 bpm, and when climbing uphill or accelerating it reaches 220 bpm. Pulmonary ventilation during cross-country skiing at high speed reaches its maximum values ​​- 100-120 l. In terms of long-term work, the glucose concentration decreases in cross-country skiers, which leads to a decrease of the athletes’ working capacity.

The energy costs of cross-country skiing are high - 15–20 kcal per 1 min on average; at various distances, skiers spend from 1000 to 4000 kcal. The significant energy expenditures of skiers, as a rule, are made up by properly organized meals, where supplemental nutrition must be provided during races at the distances from 30 km.

Any natural or synthetic substance, food products, pharmacological (pharmaceutical) preparations, teaching methods, effects (psychotechnics, hypnosis) and technical devices that enhance energy production, use or restoration and increase the effectiveness of sports activities can become an ergogenic agent.

Sports nutrition or individual nutrients are used as ergogenic diets: proteins, fats, carbohydrates. Effective as ergogenic agents of the L-amino acids, amino acid metabolites, as well as complexes of amino acids and vitamins [2].

Objective of the study was to identify effective means of increasing functional fitness of  cross-country skiers.

Methods and structure of the study. The study was conducted on the basis of Scientific and Practical Center for Physical Culture and Healthy Lifestyle of Mordovian State Pedagogical Institute [4, p. 5].

Sampled for the study were the 18-20 year-old skilled cross-country skiers (n=12) from among the Physical Education Department students, qualified Class I (n=4) to Candidate Masters of Sport (n=8). The Reference Group was made of 12 athletes qualified under Class I. Both groups were homogeneous in terms of gender: 8 males and 4 females each.

All athletes underwent a medical examination and monitoring (testing) of their functional fitness level using the classical Harvard step test.

The anthropometric measurements characterized the level of physical development of the athletes of both groups as an average harmonious with a slight excess of the chest circumference indices (Table 1).

Table 1. Athletes’ anthropometric measurements

Number of people, sex

Body length, cm

Body weight, kg

Ketle index,

kg/m²

Chest circumference, cm

Age, y.o.

16 males

176.22  ±  2.1

67 ± 1.5

21.62 ± 0.1

101.14  ±  2.5

18–20

8 females

168.11  ±  1.2

53 ± 1.7

18.73 ± 0.4

98.58  ±  1.8

18–20

In the training period, the cross-county skiers of the Experimental Group (EG) administered Elkar containing a complex of amino acids based on L-carnitine made by Peak Pharma Ltd (registration number: LSR-006143/10). The preparation was chosen owing to its natural composition (L-carnitine is a nutrient found in protein-rich foods) [3]. In addition, it is not considered a doping drug, is hormone-free, atoxic, and does not have any contradictions (except for individual intolerance).

The drug was used in the form of solution for ingestion. 1 ml of the drug contains 300 mg of active substance - levocarnitine. For 3 weeks of the training camp, the cross-country skiers administered Elkar in the moderate doses as recommended in sport medicine under excessive physical loads - from 1 to 2.5 g per day.

In the training period, Elkar was taken twice before noon: 30 min before breakfast at a dose of 0.750 mg (half a dosing spoon - 2.5 ml) and 30-40 min before the workout at a dose of 1.5 g (one dosing spoon - 5 ml), with a small amount of liquid. On weekends, carnitine was prescribed at a dose of 0.750 g, divided into 2 intakes: 30 min before breakfast and lunch, 1/4 scoop.

The drug administration before noon is most effective, its effect is reduced toward evening. The drug administration in the afternoon without intensive training, an athlete may experience insomnia due to the unspent energy generated by the action of carnitine.

Results and discussion. The L-carnitine administration was distinguished by a surge of energy and vigor; no side effects were observed. 3 athletes were found to have an increase in appetite (L-carnitine accelerates metabolism and the body starts spending the released energy faster). In order to dampen appetite, 150.0 g of protein foods (fish, cottage cheese, meat) and fresh vegetables were added to the athletes’ diet for lunch.

The functional fitness level was evaluated using the Harvard step test index (HSTI) calculated according to the formula: HSTI=tx100/(f1+f2+f3)x2, for the first time - before the experiment (1), for the second time - after the experiment (2), for the third time - one month after the end of the experiment in the control period during the regular training camp (Table 2).

Table 2. Dynamics of functional fitness rates in EG cross-country skiers during experiment

Indicator

1st test

2nd text

3rd test

Harvard step test index

(HSTI)

141

147

143

134

144

134

145

151

147

132

137

136

138

145

138

141

146

143

139

145

139

142

147

143

139

145

138

137

143

138

143

146

142

136

142

135

Mean value

139.0 ± 0.46

144.83 ± 0.46

139.66 ± 0.53

Significance of differences

 

3.35 (р < 0.05)

in-between the 2nd and 1st tests

2.78 (р < 0.05)

in-between the 2nd and 3rd tests

The results of monitoring of the cross-country skiers’ functional fitness level indicate that the L-carnitine administration leads to a significant increase in their physical working capacity and faster rehabilitation after short-term intensive loads (2nd test). The mean value of HSTI for the EG athletes - 144.88 against the background of the drug intake – testifies to a better ability of the cardiovascular system to recover its usual rhythm and good endurance indicators in the cross-country skiers of EG. The control test (3), calculated value of the t-criterion being higher than critical indicate a statistically significant difference in the athletes’ level of functional fitness against the background of ergogenic support.

The monitoring of the functional fitness test rates in the Reference Group cross-country skiers trained without ergogenic support revealed no significant differences.

Conclusion. The Harvard step test reveals the rehabilitation ability and is used to monitor the athletes’ level of fitness in cyclic sports. The results of the study showed the improved tolerance to the physical workloads, mobilization of the recovery processes and physical fitness in the process of training of the cross-country skiers taking L-carnitine. Therefore, the finding gives grounds to recommend the L-carnitine administration scheme for application in the modern cross-country skiing sport to control their functional fitness rates.

References

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Corresponding author: vvp1991@yandex.ru

Abstract

The article analyzes the functional fitness control methods applicable by coaches in the elite cross-country skiing sport. Generally the competitive performance in elite cross-country skiing is determined by the cardio-respiratory system adaptability to the growing workloads, energy costs and efficiency of the body rehabilitation process. Sampled for the study were skilled cross-country skiers (n=12) from among the Physical Education Department students, qualified Class I to candidate masters of sport. The sample was tested by ergogenic L-carnitine ‘Elcar’ (made by Peak Pharma Ltd.) administered in the moderate doses as recommended for the physical working capacity (PWC) building purposes. The group progress tests showed benefits of the additive as verified by the progress of the Experimental Group in the PWC and post-training rehabilitation indices. On the whole, the group was tested with the improved tolerance to the physical workloads and faster rehabilitation rates; and the finding gives grounds to recommend the L-carnitine administration scheme for application in the modern cross-country skiing sport.