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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 563206, 6 pages
Research Article

Relative Contribution of Arms and Legs in 30 s Fully Tethered Front Crawl Swimming

1Centre for Rapid and Sustainable Product Development, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, 2430-028 Marinha Grande, Portugal
2Research Centre in Sport, Health and Human Development, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
3Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
4Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Pamplona, 31006 Navarre, Spain

Received 21 November 2014; Revised 19 January 2015; Accepted 21 January 2015

Academic Editor: Angelica Alonso

Copyright © 2015 Pedro G. Morouço et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The relative contribution of arm stroke and leg kicking to maximal fully tethered front crawl swimming performance remains to be solved. Twenty-three national level young swimmers (12 male and 11 female) randomly performed 3 bouts of 30 s fully tethered swimming (using the whole body, only the arm stroke, and only the leg kicking). A load-cell system permitted the continuous measurement of the exerted forces, and swimming velocity was calculated from the time taken to complete a 50 m front crawl swim. As expected, with no restrictions swimmers were able to exert higher forces than that using only their arm stroke or leg kicking. Estimated relative contributions of arm stroke and leg kicking were 70.3% versus 29.7% for males and 66.6% versus 33.4% for females, with 15.6% and 13.1% force deficits, respectively. To obtain higher velocities, male swimmers are highly dependent on the maximum forces they can exert with the arm stroke (, ), whereas female swimmers swimming velocity is more related to whole-body mean forces (, ). The obtained results point that leg kicking plays an important role over short duration high intensity bouts and that the used methodology may be useful to identify strength and/or coordination flaws.