The purpose was to investigate the contribution of leg-muscle-generated forces to paddle force and kayak speed during maximaleffort flat-water paddling. Five elite male kayakers at national and international level participated. The participants warmed up at progressively increasing speeds and then performed a maximal-effort, nonrestricted paddling sequence. This was followed after 5 min rest by a maximal-effort paddling sequence with the leg action restricted—the knee joints “locked.” Left- and rightside foot-bar and paddle forces were recorded with specially designed force devices. In addition, knee angular displacement of the right and left knees was recorded with electrogoniometric technique, and the kayak speed was calculated from GPS signals sampled at 5 Hz. The results showed that reduction in both push and pull foot-bar forces resulted in a reduction of 21% and 16% in mean paddle-stroke force and mean kayak speed, respectively. Thus, the contribution of foot-bar force from lower-limb action significantly contributes to kayakers’ paddling performance.
The authors are with the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH), Stockholm, Sweden.