Using common methods for uncommon sports – The unusual winter sport of skeleton

Skeleton is a single person winter sliding sport which requires the fundamental physiological characteristics of strength, power, speed, anaerobic endurance and stability. There are similarities and differences between upright sprinting (acceleration and maximum velocity) and the push start of the skeleton race. During the race, similarities can be found between the gravitational forces experienced during fighter pilot flying and the forces experienced by the slider during a descent of the track. When looking at methods to improve an athlete’s performance from a strength and conditioning standpoint, similarities from other sports and professions should be found and understood, before an effective program can be implemented. By looking at the physiological characteristics and similarities between other sports, the strength and conditioning coach can effectively conjure a performance based plan that aims to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. Improving lower limb strength and power, acceleration, trunk integrity and stability, upper limb strength and neck strength and endurance should be the focus of strength and conditioning programs based upon the characteristics of the race. It is recommended a mixed methods approach be taken to programming for skeleton athletes. Methods that target the qualities of strength and power in the resistance training setting, and acceleration on the track should be incorporated into strength and conditioning programs. Heavy and explosive type lifting in the gym combined with specific neck and trunk strengthening exercises, along with drills and exercises that target acceleration development on the athletic track must be considered as high priorities when developing programs.
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Subjects: skeleton training auxiliary device sports equipment physical conditioning ability explosive strength strength training programme start sprint
Notations: technical sports
Published in: Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Published: 2016
Volume: 24
Issue: 3
Pages: 91-107
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced