Biomechanical analysis of flatwater sprint kayaking

Brown, M. B. (2009) Biomechanical analysis of flatwater sprint kayaking. Doctoral theses, University of Southampton; University of Chichester.

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Flatwater sprint kayaking performance can be assessed through the analyses of average boat velocity a paddler can produce, which has been shown to be directly linked to the levels of force production. Furthermore kayaking has been the subject of substantial level of investigation, within which research has identified that the evolution of equipment and resultantly technique has a direct effect on performance. The focus of the previous research has revolved around the upper limbs, with the trunk and lower limbs viewed as an inconsequential base around which the upper limbs move. Therefore the current thesis attempts to identify the application of the entire body during kayak paddling and clarify the importance of trunk and leg contributions to performance. A notational analysis of technique was conducted comparing novice, national and international level paddlers. International paddlers displayed significantly (P < 0.05) lower race and stroke times, as a result of significantly higher stroke rates. In addition aspects of technique were ranked from zero to five from which international paddlers displayed significantly (P < 0.05) greater trunk rotation, leg motion, stroke width, and forward reach. These findings were supplemented by the international paddlers entering the paddle significantly closer to the centre line of the kayak, while holding a fixed forward lean position of the trunk. These findings provide important factors within technique that can be identified visually; however further investigation was required to identify their importance in the development of force and kayak velocity. Consequently the development of an on-water analysis system was required to ensure a comprehensive analysis of technique. This was conducted through the combination of kinetic, 3-demensional kinematic, electromyographic and electrogoniometric analysis methods, using subjects (n = 8) with international experience. Subjects were prepared with passive surface electrodes and joint markers, and completed the testing protocol following completion of informed consent and a medical questionnaire. Statistical analysis identified that a moderate positive significant predictive relationship (R1= 0.529, P<0.05) existed between peak force and mean velocity during the left paddle stroke. Separating the trunk into thoracic and lumbar regions revealed a significant negative predictive relationship (P < 0.05) between velocity and range of lumbar spine rotation. Further significant (P < 0.05) findings were identified between activation levels of the rectus abdominus, external obliques and the production of force and velocity. The combination of these findings indicated that the lower trunk acted as a strong stable base against which force was produced increasing average kayak velocity. The activation of the left rectus femoris displayed significant relationships (P < 0.05) with force and velocity during both left and right strokes; indicating that the legs act as braces against which the force is transferred to the kayak. These findings reinforced those identified during the notational analysis, indicating that the legs and trunk play a fundamental role within the development of kayak velocity and therefore performance. It is therefore important that paddlers ensure that the musculature of the trunk and legs are used during performance and that the vital axial rotations occurring in the spine are produced in the thoracic region.

Publication Type: Theses (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Exercise Physiology
Student Research > Doctoral
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Depositing User: Debbie Bogard
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2013 14:11
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 08:22

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