This study is aimed at examining the relationships between floatation parameters, assessed by field tests and the stroking characteristics of breaststroke swimmers. The floatation parameters were evaluated for 23 males and 23 females by the hydrostatic lift test, the sinking force acting at the ankle test and the maximal glide length after a push-off from the pool wall test. The swimmers performed two trials at submaximal and sprint pace, and then, from the data given by a PC-video velocity system, the duration and velocity of their propulsive, recovery and glide phases were analyzed. In the female group and at slow pace, glide duration is correlated with hydrostatic lift (r = .62) and with maximal glide length (r = .44); mean glide velocity is correlated with hydrostatic lift (r = .73). In the male group and at slow pace, the sinking force was correlated with the glide phase (r = –0.66) and with the mean glide velocity (r = –0.78). At sprint velocity, the hydrostatic lift is correlated with the glide phase in the female group (r = .52). Floatation parameters have an impact on the gliding phase of the breaststroke cycle.
Hugues Leblanc, Ludovic Seifert and Didier Chollet
Caroline Giroux, Giuseppe Rabita, Didier Chollet and Gaël Guilhem
Performance during human movements is highly related to force and velocity muscle capacities. Those capacities are highly developed in elite athletes practicing power-oriented sports. However, it is still unclear whether the balance between their force and velocity-generating capacities constitutes an optimal profile. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of elite sport background on the force–velocity relationship in the squat jump, and evaluate the level of optimization of these profiles. Ninetyfive elite athletes in cycling, fencing, taekwondo, and athletic sprinting, and 15 control participants performed squat jumps in 7 loading conditions (range: 0%–60% of the maximal load they were able to lift). Theoretical maximal power (Pm), force (F 0), and velocity (v 0) were determined from the individual force–velocity relationships. Optimal profiles were assessed by calculating the optimal force (F 0th) and velocity (v 0th). Athletic sprinters and cyclists produced greater force than the other groups (P < .05). F 0 was significantly lower than F 0th, and v 0 was significantly higher than v 0th for female fencers and control participants, and for male athletics sprinters, fencers, and taekwondo practitioners (P < .05). Our study shows that the chronic practice of an activity leads to differently balanced force–velocity profiles. Moreover, the differences between measured and optimal force–velocity profiles raise potential sources of performance improvement in elite athletes.
Patrick Pelayo, Michel Sidney, Tarik Kherif, Didier Chollet and Claire Tourny
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between velocity, stroke length, and stroke rate in freestyle competitive events in order to compare male and female swimmers' results and assess their relationships with anthropometric characteristics. Three hundred three male and 325 female swimmers of national and international levels were tested during competition. Solutions adopted in each freestyle event had specific characteristics affecting the stroke rate/stroke length ratio according to distance of the race. Differences in velocity between men and women primarily resulted from differences in stroke length. If the velocity and stroke rate/stroke length ratio depend on the distance swum and the sex of the swimmer, this survey shows the nondiscriminating aspect of anthropometric characteristics. Although swimmers achieved very similar velocity values with different combinations of stroke length and stroke rate, one must appreciate the average time and space characteristics currently used by the best male and female swimmers to optimize their performances.
John Komar, Ross H. Sanders, Didier Chollet and Ludovic Seifert
This study compared interlimb coordination and indicators of swim efficiency and effectiveness between expert and recreational breaststroke swimmers. Arm-leg coordination of 8 expert and 10 recreational swimmers at two different paces, slow and sprint, were compared using relative phase between elbow and knee. For each participant, knee and elbow angles were assessed using a 3-dimensional video analysis system with four below and two above cameras. During each phase of the cycle, indicators of swim efficiency (intracyclic velocity variations) and effectiveness (horizontal distance, velocity peaks, acceleration peaks) were calculated. Two coordination patterns emerged between expert and recreational swimmers, with significant differences in the relative phase at the beginning of a cycle (−172.4° for experts and −106.6° for recreational swimmers) and the maximum value of relative phase (9.1° for experts and 45.9° for recreational swimmers; all P < .05). Experts’ coordination was associated with higher swim effectiveness (higher acceleration peak: 2.4 m/s2 for experts and 1.6 m/s2 for recreational swimmers) and higher distance covered by the center of mass during each phase of the cycle (all P < .05). This study emphasized how experts coordinate arms and legs to achieve effective behavior, therefore exhibiting flexibility, mainly in the timing of the glide phase, to adapt to different speed.
Perrine Brétigny, Ludovic Seifert, David Leroy and Didier Chollet
The aim of this study was to compare the upper-limb kinematics and coordination of the short grip and classic drives in field hockey. Ten elite female players participated in the experiment. The VICON system was used to record the displacement of markers placed on the stick and the players’ joints during five short grip and five classic drives. Kinematic and coordination parameters were analyzed. The ball’s velocity was recorded by a radar device that also served as the drive target. Kinematic differences were noted between the two drive conditions, with shorter duration and smaller overall amplitude in the short grip drive, explained by the shorter lever arm and the specific context in which it is used. No differences were noted for upper-limb coordination. In both types of stick holding, an interlimb dissociation was noted on the left side, whereas the right interlimb coordination was in phase. Moreover, the time lag increased in the disto-proximal direction, suggesting wrist uncocking before impact and the initiation of descent motion by the left shoulder. Mediolateral analysis confirmed these results: coordination of left-right limbs converged at the wrist but dissociated with more proximal joints (elbows and shoulders).
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.