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Johnny E. Nilsson and Hans G. Rosdahl

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.

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Johnny E. Nilsson and Hans G. Rosdahl

The purpose was to develop and validate portable force-measurement devices for recording push and pull forces applied by each foot to the foot bar of a kayak and the horizontal force at the seat. A foot plate on a single-point force transducer mounted on the kayak foot bar underneath each foot allowed the push and pull forces to be recorded. Two metal frames interconnected with 4 linear ball bearings, and a force transducer allowed recording of horizontal seat force. The foot-bar-force device was calibrated by loading each foot plate with weights in the push–pull direction perpendicular to the foot plate surface, while the seat-force device was calibrated to horizontal forces with and without weights on the seat. A strong linearity (r 2 = .99–1.0) was found between transducer output signal and load force in the push and pull directions for both foot-bar transducers perpendicular to the foot plate and the seat-force-measuring device. Reliability of both devices was tested by means of a test–retest design. The coefficient of variation (CV) for foot-bar push and pull forces ranged from 0.1% to 1.1%, and the CV for the seat forces varied from 0.6% to 2.2%. The current study opens up a field for new investigations of the forces generated in the kayak and ways to optimize kayak-paddling performance.