Energy cost of arm stroke, leg kick, and the whole stroke in competitive swimming styles

  • Ingauvar Holmér


In male elite swimmers \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \) at a given velocity in freestyle and backstroke was on average 1 to 2 l x min−1 lower as compared with breaststroke and butterfly. Except for breaststroke, swimming with arm strokes only demanded a lower \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \) at a given submaximal velocity than the whole stroke. In freestyle and backstroke the submaximal \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \) of leg kick at a given velocity was clearly higher than the whole stroke. The highest velocity during maximal swimming was always attained with the whole stroke, and the lowest with the leg kick, except for breast stroke, where the leg kick was most powerful. At a given submaximal \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \), heart rate and \(\dot V_{\text{E}} :\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \) tended to be higher during swimming with arm strokes only as compared with the whole stroke. Highest values for \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \), heart rate and blood lactate during maximal exercise were almost always attained when swimming the whole stroke, and lowest when swimming with arm strokes only. At higher velocities body drag was 0.5 to 0.9 kp lower when arms or legs were supported by a cork plate as compared with body drag without support.

Key words

Oxygen Uptake Pulmonary Ventilation Heart Rate Drag Submaximal and Maximal Work 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingauvar Holmér
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, Gymnastik-och idrottshögskolan, and Work Physiology DivisionNational Board of Occupational Safety and HealthStockholm

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