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Yashiro, K1; Tachibana, K1; Usui, C1; Miyazaki, J1; Tani, T FACSM1; Higuchi, M1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S389
H-13P Free Communication/Poster Skeletal Muscle Physiology

1Nippon Sport Science University, Fukasawa, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan

(Sponsor: Higuchi Mitsuru, FACSM)

Total muscle volume is one of the most important factors of rowing performance. Rowing uses many muscles of the whole body, i.e. lower limbs, trunk, and upper limbs.

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The purpose of this study is to clarify which muscle of thigh, upper arm and the back is the most important for rowing performance.

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A total of 30 (24 male and 6 female) collegiate rowers participated in this study. They performed a 2000m time trial on a rowing ergometer. Average rowing power during the 2000m test was recorded. Muscle cross-sectional areas (CSA) of knee extensor (KE), knee flexor (KF), elbow extensor (EE), elbow flexor (EF) and trunk muscle (TR) were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique. Muscle CSA of KE, KF and those of EE, EF were measured at the middle point of right thigh and right upper arm, respectively. Muscle CSA of TR was measured at abdomen.

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Each of the 5 muscles CSA [KE(87.0±10.6cm2), KF (81.0±11.2cm2), TR (52.6±12.3cm2), EE (32.5±6.1cm2) and EF (12.6±2.6 cm2), numbers represent (average±SD)] correlated with rowing ergometer power (276.4±45.6 W), (r=0.80, r=0.75, r=0.60, r=0.68 and r=0.44, p < 0.01 for each single regression respectively). A stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed with the rowing power as the dependent variable and the 5 CSA as the explanatory variables. The best single predictor was muscle CSA of KE. The muscle CSA of KF improved the prediction of rowing power. The model with these two predictors explained 68% of variance in rowing power. However, none of additions of TR, EE, EF muscle CSA improved statistical generality of rowing power.

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Each muscle CSA of KE, KF, TR, EE and EF correlated with the rowing power. Multiple regression with muscle CSA of KE and KF had the best statistical generality of the rowing power. Thus, the most important body part is the thigh, and muscle CSA of TR, EE and EF were less influential to the rowing power for the collegiate rowers. These results suggest that rowing power during 2000m test relates with all muscle CSA and it is mainly due to thigh muscles.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine