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The relationship between variations in wheelchair racers’ frontal area in erect, flexed, and rotated upper trunk positions and coasting efficiency was investigated in two experiments. The first involved three male racers with national and international racing experience, and the second involved four men and three women with national or international racing experience. In both experiments, frontal area changed significantly across the three positions. Concurrently, reductions in frontal area coincided predictably with reductions in the percent of initial velocity loss experienced during the coast-down tests across the postural conditions within both experiments. Through ANOVA with repeated measures, the flexed position demonstrated significantly better coasting efficiency than the erect condition in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, the rotated condition demonstrated significantly better coasting efficiency than the erect condition. Generally, the results support the contention that wheelchair coasting efficiency can be improved by adopting upper torso positions that reduce the racer’s frontal area.
Request reprints from Brad Hedrick, Recreation and Athletics, 136 Rehabilitation Education Ctr., University of Illinois, 1207 S. Oak, Champaign, IL 61820.