Pelarigo, J. G., Denadai, B. S., Fernandes, B. D., Santiago, D. R., César, T. E., Barbosa, L. F., & Greco, C. C. (2010). Effect of time and exercise mode on metabolic, stroking parameters, and stroke phase responses in continuous and intermittent exercises. A paper presented at the XIth International Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Oslo, June 16–19, 2010.

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This study analyzed the stroking parameters and stroke phase responses when swimming at the same swim speed during continuous and intermittent exercise around maximal lactate steady state (MLSS). Endurance swimmers (N = 12) performed the following procedures: 1) two to four 30-minute tests to determine the MLSS, and; 2) two constant speed tests at 102.5% of maximal lactate steady state under continuous and intermittent (12 x 150 seconds with 30 seconds of rest) protocols. Blood lactate, stroking parameters (stroke rate; stroke length), and stroke phase responses were compared at the tenth and thirtieth minutes of the exercise.

The difference between predicted (102.5% MLSS = ~1.26 m/s) and actual swim speeds was less than 2% for both continuous and interval protocols. Blood lactate was similar between swimming structures at the tenth minute but higher for the continuous swim at the thirtieth minute. There was an increase in stroke rate and reduction in stroke length between the tenth and thirtieth minutes only in the continuous swimming task. There were no differences in these variables between exercise modes. There was an increase in the propulsive Phase B between the tenth and thirtieth minutes only in the continuous swimming mode. There were no differences between modes in the four phase variables.

Implication. Swimmers adjust stroking strategies differently between continuous and intermittent exercise, when swimming at the same absolute swim speed, but with different metabolic conditions. The adjustments are small but significant. Interval training promotes greater retention of stroking characteristics and would seem to be the preferred modality for technique development.

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