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Effect of Velocity and Added Resistance on Selected Coordination and Force Parameters in Front Crawl

Schnitzler, Christophe1; Brazier, Tim2; Button, Chris2; Seifert, Ludovic1; Chollet, Didier1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 10 - p 2681-2690
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318207ef5e
Original Research

Schnitzler, C, Brazier, T, Button, C, Seifert, L, and Chollet, D. Effect of velocity and added resistance on selected coordination and force parameters in front crawl. J Strength Cond Res 25(10): 2681–2690, 2011—The effect of (a) increasing velocity and (b) added resistance was examined on the stroke (stroke length, stroke rate [SR]), coordination (index of coordination [IdC], propulsive phases), and force (impulse and peaks) parameters of 7 national-level front crawl swimmers (17.14 ± 2.73 years of swimming; 57.67 ± 1.62 seconds in the 100-m freestyle). The additional resistance was provided by a specially designed parachute. Parachute swimming (PA) and free-swimming (F) conditions were compared at 5 velocities per condition. Video footage was used to calculate the stroke and coordination parameters, and sensors allowed the determination of force parameters. The results showed that (a) an increase in velocity (V) led to increases in SR, IdC, propulsive phase duration, and peak propulsive force (p < 0.05), but no significant change in force impulse per cycle, whatever the condition (PA or F); and (b) in PA conditions, significant increases in the IdC, propulsive phase duration, and force impulse and a decrease in SR were recorded at high velocities (p < 0.05). These results indicated that, in the F condition, swimmers adapted to the change in velocity by modifying stroke and coordination rather than force parameters, whereas the PA condition enhanced the continuity of propulsive action and force development. Added resistance, that is, “parachute training,” can be used for specific strength training purposes as long as swimming is performed near maximum velocity.

1Faculty of Sports Sciences, Rouen University, Rouen, France; and 2School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Christophe Schnitzler,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association