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  • Author: Brice Guignard x
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Brice Guignard, Bjørn H. Olstad, David Simbaña Escobar, Jessy Lauer, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie and Annie H. Rouard

Purpose:

To investigate electromyographical (EMG) profiles characterizing the lower-limb flexion-extension in an aquatic environment in high-level breaststrokers.

Methods:

The 2-dimensional breaststroke kick of 1 international- and 2 national-level female swimmers was analyzed during 2 maximal 25-m swims. The activities of biceps femoris, rectus femoris, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior were recorded.

Results:

The breaststroke kick was divided in 3 phases, according to the movements performed in the sagittal plane: push phase (PP) covering 27% of the total kick duration, glide phase (GP) 41%, and recovery phase (RP) 32%. Intrasubject reproducibility of the EMG and kinematics was observed from 1 stroke cycle to another. In addition, important intersubject kinematic reproducibility was noted, whereas muscle activities discriminated the subjects: The explosive Pp was characterized by important muscle-activation peaks. During the recovery, muscles were likewise solicited for swimmers 1 (S1) and 2 (S2), while the lowest activities were observed during GP for S2 and swimmer 3 (S3), but not for S1, who maintained major muscle solicitations.

Conclusions:

The main muscle activities were observed during PP to perform powerful lower-limb extension. The most-skilled swimmer (S1) was the only 1 to solicit her muscles during GP to actively reach better streamlining. Important activation peaks during RP correspond to the limbs acting against water drag. Such differences in EMG strategies among an elite group highlight the importance of considering the muscle parameters used to effectively control the intensity of activation among the phases for a more efficient breaststroke kick.

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Brice Guignard, Annie Rouard, Didier Chollet, Marco Bonifazi, Dario Dalla Vedova, John Hart and Ludovic Seifert

Swimming is a challenging locomotion, involving the coordination of upper and lower limbs to propel the body forward in a highly resistive aquatic environment. During front crawl, freestyle stroke, alternating rotational motion of the upper limbs above and below the waterline, is coordinated with alternating lower limb pendulum actions. The aim of this study was to investigate the upper to lower limbs coordination dynamics of eight male elite front crawlers while increasing swimming speed and disturbing the aquatic environment (i.e., pool vs. flume). Upper to lower limb frequency ratios, coordination, coupling strength, and asymmetry were computed from data collected by inertial measurement units. Significant speed effect was observed, leading to transitions from 1∶1 to 1∶3 frequency ratios (1∶3 overrepresented), whereas 1∶2 frequency ratio was rarely used. Flume swimming led to a significant lower coupling strength at low speeds and higher asymmetries, especially at the highest speeds, probably related to the flume dynamic environment.