Effects of protocol step length on biomechanical measures in swimming

Tiago M. Barbosa, Kelly De Jesus, J. Arturo Abraldes, João Ribeiro, Pedro Figueiredo, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The assessment of energetic and mechanical parameters in swimming often requires the use of an intermittent incremental protocol, whose step lengths are corner stones for the efficiency of the evaluation procedures. Purpose: To analyze changes in swimming kinematics and interlimb coordination behavior in 3 variants, with different step lengths, of an intermittent incremental protocol. Methods: Twenty-two male swimmers performed n × di variants of an intermittent and incremental protocol (n ≤ 7; di = 200m, d2 = 300 m, and d3 = 400 m). Swimmers were videotaped in the sagittal plane for 2-dimensional kinematical analysis using a dualmedia setup. Video images were digitized with a motion-capture system. Parameters that were assessed included the stroke kinematics, the segmental and anatomical landmark kinematics, and interlimb coordination. Movement efficiency was also estimated. Results: There were no significant variations in any of the selected variables according to the step lengths. A high to very high relationship was observed between step lengths. The bias was much reduced and the 95%CI fairly tight. Conclusions: Since there were no meaningful differences between the 3 protocol variants, the 1 with shortest step length (ie, 200 m) should be adopted for logistical reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Efficiency
  • Front crawl
  • Index of coordination
  • Kinematics
  • Stroke mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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