THERE ARE MINOR LEG STRENGTH DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SYMMETRICAL AND ASYMMETRICAL STROKE SWIMMERS

Secchi, L. L., Cioiac, E. G., Muratt, M. D., & Grave, J. M. (2011). Isokinetic evaluation in knee muscles elite swimmers: a comparison between symmetric and asymmetric swimming styles. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 1592.

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This study compared knee extension-flexion isokinetic performance between elite swimmers of symmetrical strokes (butterfly and/or breaststroke) or asymmetrical strokes (front crawl and/or backstroke). Short distance (50, 100, 200 m events) elite swimmers (N = 19) were divided into symmetrical strokes (N = 7) and asymmetrical strokes (N = 7). Ss were measured for isokinetic knee extension-flexion at 60 and 300/sec angular velocities. Peak torque and peak torque agonist/antagonist ratio were assessed at 60/s, and total work and work fatigue index were assessed at 300/s.

There were no significant differences between groups or between lower extremity dominance for concentric knee extension and flexion peak torque, total work and work fatigue index. Peak torque agonist/antagonist ratio was lower in the asymmetric than the symmetric group for both lower extremities.

Implication. Peak torque agonist/antagonist ratio was greater in symmetrical stroke swimmers than in asymmetrical stroke swimmers in an isokinetic knee extension-flexion test. That minor strength difference could be purely a reflection of the repetitious training and leg demands of the different strokes.

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