To determine the relationship of muscle activation, force production, and cycle characteristics to O2 extraction during high- and lower-intensity double poling (DP), nine well-trained male cross-country skiers performed DP on a treadmill for 3 min at 90% VO2peak followed by 6 min at 70%. During the final minute at each workload, arterial, femoral, and subclavian venous blood were collected for determination of partial pressure of O2, partial pressure of CO2, pH, and lactate. Electromyography (EMG) was recorded from six upper and lower body muscles, leg and pole forces were measured, and cardiorespiratory variables were monitored continuously. O2 extraction was associated with time point of peak pole force (PFpeak), duration of recovery, EMG activity, and lower body use. Arm O2 extraction was lower than in the legs at both intensities (P < 0.001) and was reduced to a lesser extent upon decreasing the workload (P < 0.05). Arm root-mean-square EMG was higher during the poling phase and entire cycle compared with the legs (P < 0.001). Blood lactate was higher in the subclavian than in femoral vein and artery (P < 0.001) and independent of intensity. O2 extraction was correlated to low muscle activation, later PFpeak, prolonged poling time, and extensive dynamic lower body use. Cycle rate and recovery time were associated with O2 extraction during high-intensity exercise only.