alexa Estimating propulsive forces--sink or swim?
General Science

General Science

Journal of Ergonomics

Author(s): Lauder MA, Dabnichki P

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Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of hydrodynamic force estimation in swimming as calculated by the quasi-static approach. To achieve this a full-scale mechanical arm was developed, built and tested. The mechanical arm, covered with a prosthetic shell and driven at the shoulder was used to simulate a single plane underwater rotation at four elbow configurations. A computer program controlled the shoulder movement to achieve a replicable angular velocity profile for each arm movement. A strain gauge system was used to directly measure the generated arm torque. Repeated trials were conducted at fixed elbow angles of 110 degrees, 135 degrees, 160 degrees and 180 degrees. All trials were filmed using a three-dimensional underwater set-up. Each trial was digitised at 25 Hz and the hydrodynamic drag force profile of the hand calculated using the quasi-static procedure. From these data, the estimated shoulder torque was calculated and compared to the direct measurement of shoulder torque from the mechanical arm. The results showed that the arm produced a repeatable movement through the water. The shoulder torque profiles using the direct measure (the arm) and the indirect measures (quasi-static approach) differed considerably. The quasi-static approach appears not to accurately reflect the hydrodynamic force profile generated by the arm movement in swimming. Furthermore, it seems that the swimmer's hand contribution is overstated in up to date studies. It is essential that the propulsive mechanisms in swimming be further investigated if factors underpinning an optimal technique are to be established. This article was published in J Biomech and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics

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