Document Detail

Applied physiology of swimming.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3520747     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Scientific research in swimming over the past 10 to 15 years has been oriented toward multiple aspects that relate to applied and basic physiology, metabolism, biochemistry, and endocrinology. This review considers recent findings on: 1) specific physical characteristics of swimmers; 2) the energetics of swimming; 3) the evaluation of aerobic fitness in swimming; and 4) some metabolic and hormonal aspects related to swimmers. Firstly, the age of finalists in Olympic swimming is not much different from that of the participants from other sports. They are taller and heavier than a reference population of the same age. The height bias in swimming may be the reason for lack of success from some Asian and African countries. Experimental data point toward greater leanness, particularly in female swimmers, than was seen 10 years ago. Overall, female swimmers present a range of 14 to 19% body fat whereas males are much lower (5 to 10%). Secondly, the relationship between O2 uptake and crawl swimming velocity (at training and competitive speeds) is thought to be linear. The energy cost varies between strokes with a dichotomy between the 2 symmetrical and the 2 asymmetrical strokes. Energy expenditure in swimming is represented by the sum of the cost of translational motion (drag) and maintenance of horizontal motion (gravity). The cost of the latter decreases as speed increases. Examination of the question of size-associated effects on the cost of swimming using Huxley's allometric equation (Y = axb) shows an almost direct relationship with passive drag. Expressing energy cost in litres of O2/m/kg is proposed as a better index of technical swimming ability than the traditional expression of VO2/distance in L/km. Thirdly, maximal direct conventional techniques used to evaluate maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) in swimming include free swimming, tethered swimming, and flume swimming. Despite the individual peculiarities of each method, with similar experimental conditions similar results for VO2 max will be found. Free swimming (unimpeded) using the backward extrapolation method will, however, lead to reliable and valid results obtained in a condition that is closer to the competitive situation than with a direct test. A maximal indirect field-test has been recently made available. This test can predict VO2 max with an acceptable accuracy (r = 0.877), and provides a mean to evaluate the functional maximal aerobic power in swimming which corresponds to the maximal aerobic swimming velocity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
J M Lavoie; R R Montpetit
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)     Volume:  3     ISSN:  0112-1642     ISO Abbreviation:  Sports Med     Publication Date:    1986 May-Jun
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1986-07-24     Completed Date:  1986-07-24     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8412297     Medline TA:  Sports Med     Country:  NEW ZEALAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  165-89     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Age Factors
Body Composition
Creatine Kinase / blood
Energy Metabolism
Hormones / metabolism
Lactates / metabolism
Lactic Acid
Lipoproteins / blood
Menstrual Cycle
Muscles / cytology,  enzymology
Oxygen Consumption
Physical Exertion
Sex Factors
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hormones; 0/Isoenzymes; 0/Lactates; 0/Lipoproteins; 50-21-5/Lactic Acid; EC Kinase

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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