Shiraki, T., Wakayoshi, K., Hata, H., Yamamoto, R., & Tomikawa, M. (2010). The effects of rubber swimsuits on swimmers measured by a lactic acid curve test. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.

blue line

"The rubber swimsuit was one of the causes of the record rush in 2008. Similar to wetsuits, the rubber swimsuit was made from Neoprene rubber. The effects of wearing a wetsuit on swimmers were widely reported. It was suggested that the benefits of wearing a wet suit were not only the improvement in swimming propulsion efficiency, but the reduction in energy consumption."

This study assessed the influence of wearing a rubber swimsuit on a swimmer’s exercise load by using a lactic acid curve test. Female university swimmers (N = 8) performed a lactic acid curve test with four different suits. Three types of rubber swimsuits and a cloth swim suit treated to be water-repellent were worn. All swimsuits were full-length covering the S from shoulders to ankles. The lactic acid curve test consisted of 4 x 200 m swimming. The speed of four stages in the test was set from the best record of each 200 m freestyle race (80%V200, 85% V200, 90% V200, and 95% V200). The speed was controlled by a pacing device. Blood was drawn from the fingertip at 0, 3, and 5 minutes after each trial.

Blood lactate concentrations were not significantly different between the swimsuits at any velocity, indicating that there was no obvious reduction in energy utilization. The number of arm strokes decreased when using the rubber swimsuits.

Implication. Rubber swim suits improve propulsion efficiency similar to that which has been shown with wetsuits. Lactate values were not affected by rubber swimsuits.

Return to Table of Contents for Biomechanics of Swimming.

blue line