Three-dimensional kinematic variables and their relationship to the physiology of racing wheelchair propulsion were studied. Six male wheelchair athletes performed two trials (medium and maximum speed) of 3 min each. VO2, VO2/kg, VE, and HR were measured. Results showed that at medium speed, wrist velocity on hand contact was significantly correlated with VO2/kg. At maximum speed, elbow velocity during preparatory phase was significantly correlated with VO2. Stepwise regression showed wrist trajectory angle and elbow velocity during preparatory phase were significantly correlated with VO2/kg. Results indicate that kinematic variables recorded prior to and on hand contact with the pushrim are significant variables in developing a more efficient racing wheelchair propulsion technique. Results of this study indicate a need to educate coaches of wheelchair track athletes concerning the best racing wheelchair propulsion technique.
This study was partially funded by Wheelchair Sports USA, and the United States Olympic Committee. The authors would like to thank the athletes for participating in this study and for all the individuals that helped with the running of the Paralympic Training. Camp.
Thomas J. O’Connor and Rory A. Cooper are both at the University of Pittsburgh and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Rick N. Robertson is with the Department of Health and Physical Education at California State University, Sacramento, CA 95819.