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Relationship Between Dryland Strength and Swimming Performance: Pull-Up Mechanics as a Predictor of Swimming Speed

Pérez-Olea, José, I.1; Valenzuela, Pedro, L.2,3; Aponte, Concepción1; Izquierdo, Mikel4

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 6 - p 1637–1642
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002037
Original Research

Pérez-Olea, JI, Valenzuela, PL, Aponte, C, and Izquierdo, M. Relationship between dryland strength and swimming performance: pull-up mechanics as a predictor of swimming speed. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1637–1642, 2018—This study aimed to examine the validity of the countermovement jump (CMJ) and the pull-up exercise as predictors of swimming performance. Twelve young male swimmers (Mean ± SD, 19 ± 3 years; 75 ± 10 kg; 180 ± 6 cm) with a homogenous level of performance (50-m freestyle time [50F]: 26.41 ± 1.44 seconds, coefficient of variance: 5.5%) participated in this study. Subjects performed a test of a single pull-up (PU) and a test of maximum number of pull-ups until muscular failure (PUF), and the mechanics of the ascending phase were recorded using a lineal force transducer. The height reached in a single CMJ test and the mean height during 30 consecutive CMJs were also determined. The swimmers' 50-m leg-only swimming time (50L) was also registered. The 50F time was strongly correlated with different variables of the PU (r = −0.76 to −0.80; p ≤ 0.05) and PUF test (r = −0.64 to −0.88; p ≤ 0.05), but not with the number of pull-ups performed. A significant relationship between 50F and 50L was observed (r = 0.78; p ≤ 0.05), with no relationship between the CMJ tests and swimming performance. Furthermore, multiple linear regression showed that 50L and the relative loss of velocity during the PUF test accounted for 84% (p < 0.001) of the 50F performance variance. This study shows the validity of the analysis of pull-up mechanics and 50L to predict short-distance swimming performance in trained swimmers, confirming the importance of upper-limb strength and leg kick on this sport.

1Sport and Physical Education Area, Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain;

2Physiology Unit, Systems Biology Department, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain;

3Performance Analysis Unit, Department of Sport and Health, Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD), Madrid, Spain; and

4Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain

Address correspondence to José I. Pérez-Olea, nacho_hellin@hotmail.com.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.