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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 June;40(2):87-95

language: English

Maximal oxygen uptake and cardiorespiratory response to maximal 400-m free swimming, running and cycling tests in competitive swimmers

Rodríguez F. A.

From the Department of Biomedical Sciences Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain


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Background. This ­study com­pared the car­di­o­res­pir­a­to­ry ­response of ­trained swim­mers to 400-m unim­ped­ed ­front ­crawl swim­ming (SW), tread­mill run­ning (TR) and ergom­e­ter ­cycling (EC) max­i­mal exer­cise ­tests, and eval­u­at­ed the valid­ity and spec­i­fic­ity of a meth­od to meas­ure max­i­mal aero­bic pow­er in swim­ming.
Methods. Two ­series of experi­ments ­were con­duct­ed. In ­series A (n=15), com­par­i­sons ­were ­made ­between V.O2­peak and oth­er car­di­o­res­pir­a­to­ry var­i­ables in ­three max­i­mal ­tests: ­after 400-m SW, and dur­ing incre­men­tal TR and EC. In ­series B, V.O2 ­peak and relat­ed var­i­ables ­were meas­ured ­after SW and dur­ing EC (n=33).
Results. No sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­enc­es ­were ­observed ­between V.O2­peak and V.E in the ­three ­modes of exer­cise, ­although SW val­ues tend­ed to be high­er. After SW, max­i­mal ven­til­a­to­ry ­response was char­ac­ter­ized by high­er ­tidal vol­umes (V.T) and low­er res­pir­a­to­ry ­rates (fR) as com­pared ­with TR and EC. The high­est ­heart ­rate val­ues (fH) ­were ­also ­observed in TR, fol­lowed by EC and SW. In ­series B, no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­enc­es ­were ­observed ­either in ­peak V.O2 or V.E, but fH was ­also low­er in SW.
Conclusions. A max­i­mal 400-m unim­ped­ed free­style SW ­test ­yields essen­tial­ly ­equal or non­sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er ­peak V.O2 and V.E val­ues ­than dur­ing max­i­mal TR or EC ­tests in ­trained swim­mers. The spe­cif­ic max­i­mal car­di­o­res­pir­a­to­ry ­response to the SW ­test is char­ac­ter­ized by high­er VT, low­er fR, and low­er fH. Breath-by-­breath meas­ure­ments dur­ing the imme­di­ate recov­ery ­after a 400-m vol­un­tary max­i­mal ­swim is pro­posed as a val­id and spe­cif­ic ­test for direct­ly meas­ur­ing max­i­mal meta­bol­ic param­e­ters and eval­u­at­ing spe­cif­ic max­i­mal aero­bic pow­er in swim­ming.

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