Comparison of Physiological Parameters During On-Water and Ergometer Kayaking and Their Relationship to Performance in Sprint Kayak Competitions

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: (1) To compare various physiological indicators of performance during a 5 × 1500-m incremental kayak test performed on an ergometer and on-water and (2) to analyze the relationships between these indicators and the actual competition performance of elite sprint kayakers, aiming to provide information to coaches for evaluating and planning training on-water. Methods: A total of 14 male and female German elite sprint kayakers performed an incremental test both on an ergometer and on-water. The tissue saturation index of the musculus (m.) biceps brachii, oxygen consumption, ratings of perceived exertion, and levels of blood lactate were measured and compared with actual racing times. In addition, power output was monitored during ergometer testing only. Results: Oxygen consumption during the fourth (P = .02; d = 0.32) and final (fifth; P < .001; d = 0.32) steps of incremental testing was higher on-water than on the ergometer. The tissue saturation index of the m. biceps brachii was approximately 21% higher at the end of the ergometer test (P = .002; d = 1.14). During the second (P = .01; d = 0.78), third (P = .005; d = 0.93), and fourth stages (P = .005; d = 1.02), the ratings of perceived exertion for ergometer kayaking was higher. During the final step, power output was most closely correlated to 200- (r = .88), 500- (r = .93), and 1000-m (r = .86) racing times (all Ps < .01). Conclusions: During high-intensity kayaking on an ergometer or on-water, the oxygen consumption and tissue saturation index of the m. biceps brachii differ. Furthermore, at moderate to submaximal intensities, the ratings of perceived exertion were higher for ergometer than for on-water kayaking. Finally, of all parameters assessed, the power output during ergometer kayaking exhibited the strongest correlation with actual racing performance.

Matzka is with the Applied Sports Science, Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, Hamm, Germany. Zinner is with the Dept of Sport, University of Applied Sciences for Police and Administration of Hesse, Wiesbaden, Germany. Kunz and Sperlich are with the Integrative and Experimental Exercise Science and Training, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany. Holmberg is with the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Dept of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden; and the Biomechanics Laboratory, Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China.

Matzka (matzka.manuel@gmail.com) is corresponding author.
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