Pushing economy and wheelchair propulsion technique were examined for 8 wheelchair racers on a motorized treadmill at 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 m/s. Kinematic data for the sagittal view were collected by a video camera for two-dimensional analysis. Adaptations to speed changes occurred, initially by a decrease in cycle time and an increase in cycle rate, and later by an increase in the flexion of the elbow. At each speed there were large variations in pushing economy between individuals. The relationship between pushing economy and selected kinematic variables revealed that at 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 m/s, economy was associated with (a) the lighter athletes (r = .89, .86, .83), (b) a greater range of elbow movement (r = -.85, -.65, -.63), and (c) a lower push rate (r = .73, .81, .63), respectively. Effects of lesion level and wheelchair design may be more important in explaining differences in pushing economy than differences in propulsion technique.
Victoria L. Goosey is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 2HL, UK. Ian G. Campbell is with the Division of Sport, Health, and Exercise at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF, UK.
The support by the Sports Council, who fund the British Wheelchair Racing Association (BWRA) Sports Science Support Program, which is based at the Manchester Metropolitan University, is acknowledged. In addition, an acknowledgement is made to Mr. Alan Batterham, Dr. Neil Fowler, and Mr. Keith Tolfrey for their assistance.