The Relationship between Three-Dimensional Wheelchair Propulsion Techniques and Pushing Economy

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Three-dimensional kinematic and physiological data were obtained from 18 wheelchair racers, to allow the relationship between pushing economy and kinematic variables at 4.70 m · s−1 (n = 18) and 6.58 m · s−1 (n = 12) to be examined. Large inter individual differences in wheelchair propulsion styles were present, which made it difficult to identify variables that were associated with pushing economy and indeed to distinguish key variables that were characteristic of an economical wheelchair racer. Furthermore, those variables associated with economy proved inconsistent across the two speeds. However, at both speeds a higher mechanical efficiency and lower push rate were associated with better economy (p < .05). It was also found that the timing parameters were important. In this respect most athletes tended to push through a similar push angle; however, push rate differed between individuals, suggesting that the magnitude and direction of the hand-rim forces may be important for determining economy of propulsion.

Victoria L. Goosey and Neil E. Fowler are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, the Manchester Metropolitan University, Hassall Road, Alsager, ST7 2HL, United Kingdom. Ian G. Campbell is with the Department of Sport Health and Exercise, Staffordshire University, UK.

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