Scientizing performance in endurance sports: The emergence of ‘rational training’ in cross-country skiing, 1930-1980
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Vetenskapliggörandet av prestation inom konditionsidrott : Framväxten av 'rationell träning' för längdskidåkning, 1930-1980 (Swedish)
Elite athletes of today use specialized, scientific training methods and the increasing role of science in sports is undeniable. Scientific methods and equipment has even found its way into the practice of everyday exercisers, a testament to the impact of sport science. From the experiential, personal training regimes of the first half of the 20th century to the scientific training theories of the 1970s, the ideas about training and the athletic body shifted.
The rationalization process started in endurance sports in the 1940s. It was part of a struggle between two models of training; natural training and rational training. Physiologists wanted to rid training of individual and local variations and create a universal model of rational, scientific training. The rationalization of training and training landscapes is here understood as an aspect of sportification, a theory commonly used to describe similar developments in sports where increasing regimentation, specialization and rationalization are among the main criteria. This dissertation adds the concept of technologies of sportification to explain the role that micro-technologies and practices (such as training logs, training camps and scientific tests) have in the scientization of training.
This thesis thus sets out to analyze the role that science has played in training during the 20th century. It is a history about the rationalization of training, but also about larger issues regarding the role of personal, experiential knowledge and scientific knowledge. The main conclusions are that the process of scientization never managed to rid training of components from natural, experiential training, and that the effort by Swedish physiologists to introduce rational training was part of the larger rationalization movement at the time. In the end, training knowledge was a co-production between practitioners and theoreticians, skiers and scientists.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 65 p.
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2072
History, environmental history, history of science, history of technology, landscape studies, cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing, endurance physiology, sport history, sportification, scientization, sport physiology, sport science, Sweden
History and Archaeology
Research subject History of Science, Technology and Environment
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-195830ISBN: 978-91-7729-205-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-195830DiVA: diva2:1046413
2016-12-09, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Tolvhed, Helena, Docent
Sörlin, Sverker, ProfessorWormbs, NinaYttergren, Leif
ProjectsRationell träning: vetenskapliggörandet äv träning för längdskidåkning
FunderSwedish National Centre for Research in SportsMistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchSwedish Environmental Protection Agency
QC 201611142016-11-142016-11-102016-11-15Bibliographically approved
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