Toubekis, A., Gourgoulis, V., & Tokmakidis, S. (2010). Tethered swimming as an evaluation tool for arm strength imbalance. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 1619, 2010.

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This study evaluated single and double arm strength factors in tethered swimming. Young swimmers (N = 8; ~14.7 years) performed a series of tethered swimming tests: 15 seconds using full stroke, 15 seconds using arms only, and five strokes using the right and five using the left arm only. The maximum force for each arm stroke was measured for 10 cycles during the full stroke and arms-only conditions and during five strokes for the single-arm tests. Hand-grip strength was also evaluated for each arm.

Mean force for full swimming was higher than arms-only. Mean force of the five strokes during single arm swimming was similar to double arms-only swimming. Right and left arm tethered forces were similar within each test and were highly correlated between tests. Right handgrip was higher compared to left hand-grip and both were moderately correlated with single-arm swimming forces.

Implication. Tethered force measurement in separate single arm strokes during swimming may be a valid and useful procedure to identify imbalances between arm force developments. Any imbalances may not be similar to those observed with land-based hand-grip evaluations.

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