Upper limb kinematic differences between breathing and non-breathing conditions in front crawl sprint swimming

Carla McCabe, Ross Sanders, Stelios Psycharakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the breathing action in front crawl (FC) sprint swimming affects the ipsilateral upper limb kinematics relative to a non-breathing stroke cycle (SC). Ten male competitive swimmers performed two 25 m FC sprints: one breathing to their preferred side (Br) and one not breathing (NBr). Both swim trials were performed through a 6.75 m3 calibrated space and recorded by six gen-locked JVC KY32 CCD cameras. A paired t-test was used to assess statistical differences between the trials, with a confidence level of p<0.05 accepted as significant. Swimmers were slower (3%) when breathing. Within the entry phase, swimmers had a slower COM horizontal velocity (3.3%), less shoulder flexion (8%), abduction (33%) and roll (4%) when breathing. The pull phase was longer in duration (14%) swimmers had a shallower hand path (11%), less shoulder abduction (11%), a slower hand vertical acceleration (30%) and slower centre of mass (COM) horizontal velocity (3%) when breathing. In the push phase, swimmers had a smaller elbow range of motion (ROM) (38%), faster backwards hand speed (25%) and faster hand vertical acceleration (33%) when breathing. Swimmers rolled their shoulders more (12%) in the recovery phase when breathing. This study confirms that swim performance is compromised by the inclusion of taking a breath in sprint FC swimming. It was proposed that swimmers aim to orient their ipsilateral shoulder into a stronger position by stretching and rolling the shoulders more in the entry phase whilst preparing to take a breath. Swimmers should focus on lengthening the push phase by extending the elbow more and not accelerating the hand too quickly upwards when preparing to inhale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3995-4001
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume48
Issue number15
Early online date3 Oct 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Freestyle swimming
  • Three-dimensional
  • Breath-holding
  • Ipsilateral
  • Technique

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