Comparison of Isokinetic Strengths and Energy Systems between Short and Middle Distance Swimmers

By Lawsirirat, Chaipat; Chaisumrej, Pattraporn | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, August 2017 | Go to article overview

Comparison of Isokinetic Strengths and Energy Systems between Short and Middle Distance Swimmers


Lawsirirat, Chaipat, Chaisumrej, Pattraporn, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Swimming performance is influenced by various factors, such as, anthropometric variables, body composition, somatic trait, and strength. Muscle strengths are highly important to swimmers because it is one of main factors to improve stroke length, stroke frequency, fatigue resistance and, thus, swimming performance (Keiner, Yaghobi, Sander, Wirth, & Hartmann, 2015). Cochrane et al. (2015) found that forearm flexion and extension peak torques were able to predict swimming performance in young male swimmers, while Bae, Yu, and Lee (2016) showed that international level high school freestyle young swimmers had significantly higher isokinetic muscle strengths in trunk extension, right knee extension, left knee extension, and shoulder left/right internal/external rotation than high school freestyle swimmers at national level. While research related to muscle strength and swimming is extensively studied, it is often limited to swimmers at younger age and upper extremities such as in Schneider and Meyer (2005) and Lewis Jr et al. (2013). Only few studies (Magnusson, Constantini, McHugh, & Gleim, 1995) reported strength in swimmers after puberty.

Different competitive swimming distances require swimmers to adopt different strategies, techniques, and physiological demands. Swimmers employed different pacing strategies with different swimming distances (Nikolaidis & Knechtle, 2017), and short distance swimmers were more able to modify their stroke technique than middle distance swimmers (Cortesi, Fantozzi, & Gatta, 2012). Mezzaroba, Papoti, and Machado (2013) suggested different distances needed different anthropometry, body composition, and anaerobic threshold. Capelli, Pendergast, and Termin (1998) developed a regression model to predict energy cost and estimated percentage contribution of different energy system to distances. The model was later extended by Zamparo, Capelli, and Pendergast (2011) and by Rodríguez and Mader (2011) to cover all distances in swimming competition and swimming styles. The model showed that swimmers with different competitive distances required different use of energy systems. To our knowledge, no research has investigated muscle strength requirement of swimmers with different distance even if muscle strength related to fatigue resistance (Lindsay et al., 1996). While energy systems were often studied, they focused on the relationship between aerobic capacity and critical velocities rather than comparing direct results of anaerobic and aerobic capacity between sport and middle distance swimmers. This paper attempted to compare muscle strengths and energy systems between short and middle distance university swimmers, and hypothesized that muscle strengths and energy systems between short and middle distance university swimmers were different.

Material & methods

Participant s- 36 freestyle national swimmers who were older than 15 years of age were recruited in this study. The swimmers were specialized in front crawl and competed in either 50 meters or 400 meters freestyle. The participants were then divided into 4 groups with 9 swimmers in each group. The 4 groups are i) Female short distance swimmers ii) Male short distance swimmers, iii) Female long distance swimmers, and iv) Male long distance swimmers. All of swimmers were in good health, had no injury and regularly trained for competitions. The participants as well as the parents of swimmers who were younger than 18 years of age signed the consent form prior to the experiment. The study protocol was approved by the ethical review committee for research involving human research subjects of Chulalongkorn University.

Procedure- Body composition, muscle strengths, and energy systems were evaluated. The participants were asked to visit our lab once after 3 days of a national championship competition but no longer than 2 weeks after the competition to ensure that the participants were in their best possible shape. …

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