A recent study completed by the Movement Science/Human Performance Laboratory at Montana State University found that a high level cross-country skier can generate more upper body power, specific to Nordic skiing, which could influence a race outcome. The test compared the performance of a PC Swix grip with a basic strap system, a PC Swix grip with the company's highly successful SR94 strap system, and a Yoko 232 grip with 232 strap system. Swix's new strap, the Pro Fit, was not tested.
The test included nine men and two women who were all experienced Nordic racers for the United States. Each used the different grips and systems on the same type pole on what the university referred to as, "a modified double-poling ergometer."
Upper body power (UBP) was measured at the ski tip with a resistance corresponding to 3 percent of body mass. Each test lasted 15 seconds and the output was recorded during the last 10 seconds of each test. UBP was determined as the highest five-second average output.
The test results did find that the Yoko system provided a skier with more UBP than either the Swix standard or the Swix SR94 grip system.
SNEWS View: Of course, as with any test, it is all in how you read the dataâ€¦especially in a lab. If a cross-country race is to be decided in three, 15-second bursts of power, we'd give the results an unequivocal thumbs up. However, last time we checked, cross-country ski races generally last a tad longer than 15 seconds. Still, there is no disputing the fact that this last year, the U.S. cross-country ski nationals had more winners outfitted in the Yoko system than any other company. So, maybe there is something to the UBP after all. Of course, when all is said and done, a ski grip and strap system for elite athletes isn't going to get it done for retailers seeking to sell more skis, boots and poles to new skiers, no matter how good the UBP is.