Energetics of kayaking

  • D. R. Pendergast
  • D. Bushnell
  • D. W. Wilson
  • P. Cerretelli


The metabolic cost of paddling at low speeds (v) was measured from oxygen uptake\((\dot V_{O_2 } )\) and anaerobic glycolysis in an annular pool or calculated from submaximal\(\dot V_{O_2 } \) measured at higher speeds when the kayaker was assisted in overcoming water resistance. Also calculated were the total drag (D) and the net mechanical efficiency (e). Each of the above variables was determined in male (n=17) and female (n=7) kayakers ranging in experience from beginners to elite. The\(\dot V_{O_2 } \) increased withv to a peak of ∼3.4 l·min−1 (80%–100% of peak\(\dot V_{O_2 } \) during running) in men and of ∼2.8 l·min−1 in women, while at higher speeds the additional energy was accounted for by anaerobic glycolysis. In all subjects the energy cost to paddle a given distance (C) increased according to a power function with increasingv. TheC was lower for the elite male paddlers than for the unskilled group, while that for elite women was slightly less than that for the elite men. Also the rates of increase ofC appeared to be inversely proportional to the subjects' skill. TotalD for elite men increased from ∼15 to 60 N over a range of speeds from 1 to 2.2 m·s−1 while those of unskilled men and skilled women for the same speed range were 10–20 N greater and slightly less, respectively. Thee increased linearly, but at a different rate, with increases inv for the unskilled and the elite kayakers (males and females) being 4.2% and 6%, respectively, atv=1.2 m·s−1.

Key words

Kayaking Muscle energetics Arm exercise Metabolic cost 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Pendergast
    • 1
  • D. Bushnell
    • 1
  • D. W. Wilson
    • 1
  • P. Cerretelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyState University of New York at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Département de Physiologie, Ecole de MédecineCentre Médical UniversitaireGeneva 4Switzerland

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