X-GLIDE SUITS DO NOT INCREASE BUOYANCY

Cortesi, M., Zamparo, P., Tam, E., Da Boit, M., & Gatta, G. (2010). The effect of wearing a synthetic rubber suit on hydrostatic lift and lung volume. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study investigated hydrostatic lift and lung volumes in male swimmers (N = 9) wearing a suit made of polyurethane and neoprene. Hydrostatic lift was measured while wearing a "standard" swim suit or a full body technical suit (X-glide Arena). After a maximal inspiration, Ss were kept in a position under the water surface by a cable connected to a pulley system positioned on the swimming pool floor for 10 seconds. The cable was also connected to a load cell on the pool's edge to measure Ss' hydrostatic lift (the force with which their body tended to rise towards the water surface). Chest circumferences (maximal inspiration and maximal expiration) and lung volumes were measured in both suit conditions.

Hydrostatic lift was smaller in the X-glide suit. A strong thoracic compression produced by the X-glide suits was related to a reduction in the chest circumferences during maximal inspiration and expiration as well as to the reduction in the lung volumes and in the hydrostatic lift.

Implication. The improvement in performances in X-glide swimsuits is not related to better static buoyancy.

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