Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Changes in Lower Limb Kinematics Coordination during 2000m Ergometer Rowing among Male Junior National Rowers

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Changes in Lower Limb Kinematics Coordination during 2000m Ergometer Rowing among Male Junior National Rowers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Rowing emphasizes coordinated movement in which it requires perfect synchronization between rowers in a boat and within a rower themselves (e.g., inter-joint coordination). The degree of synchronization is an important determinant for optimal crew performance, which may increase the chances of winning (Hill, 2002; Shaharudin & Agrawal, 2016). Furthermore, it has been shown that an uncoordinated movement can hinder performance even within a team of strong and technically-proficient rowers (Cuijpers et al., 2015). Intra crew coordination is known as phase coordination, which is classified as in-phase and antiphase coordination that affect the crew's rowing performance. In-phase coordination is recognized when the rhythmic hand motions perfectly coincide among rowing crew,while antiphase coordination is observed when the rhythmic motions alternate each other with a half-a-cycle difference (Cuijpers et al., 2015).

On the other hand, coordination within a rower encompasses joint and time coordination. The joint coordination is important for applying a skill that requires the transfer of force generatedthrough a kinetic chain of multi-joint movement. Furthermore, Heiderscheit et al., (2002) have reported that the combination of joint coordination variability and task outcome consistency has been frequently demonstrated. For example, proper coordination of whole-body segments and joints may help a baseball player to execute a good pitching skill (Chen et al., 2016). Wilson et al., (2008) have also observed that the coordination of lower extremity intra-limb couplings may influence the skill of expert triple jumpers. Meanwhile, time coordination is defined as the changes in time coordination between body segments over a sustained period, which are frequently attributed to fatigue (Caldwell et al., 2003; Holt et al., 2003; McGregor et al., 2005). The time coordination is crucial particularly for sports that determine the winner based on the fastest time recorded. Despite the importance of joint and time coordination on rowing performance, studies related to these aspects are scarce.

Development of effective coordination between upper and lower limb is crucial for rowers because nonoptimal strategiesmay limit their movement efficiency and power output (Hug et al., 2011). It is well-known that lower limb musculature is the main propulsive force generator during rowing (Shaharudin et al., 2014; Shaharudin & Agrawal, 2016). Although lower limb joint coordination is fundamental during rowing, studies on this aspect, particularly during ergometer rowing, are scarce. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the changes of lower limb joint coordination, which were analyzed using factor analysis of its kinematics across 2000m ergometer rowing time trial among male rowers.

Material & methods

Participants

Ten male junior national-level rowers participated voluntarily in the study. Rowers aged 13 - 17 years old with no serious musculoskeletal injuries within the past year were included in the study. They trained regularly and had at least one year of experience representing Malaysia at international games. This is important because experience may influence their rowing performance (Penichet-Tomas et al., 2016). Consent was obtained from the participants and their guardians. The study protocol was approved by the Human Research Ethical Committee of a local university (USM/JEPeM/15020080). The research was conducted in compliance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Study Procedure

Participants were asked to provide information about their medical history and any medications they might be taking. They were advised to wear fitted clothes for ease of rowing motions and accurate marker placement on the body. Participants underwent a physical check-up, which included the measurement of their body weight, height, segments' length (i.e., shank and thigh), and hip, waist and thigh circumference. …

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