The Relationship Between Absolute and Relative Upper Body Strength and Handcycling Performance Capabilities
Smith, Paul M.
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Purpose: The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between absolute and relative upper body strength and selected measures of handcycling performance. Methods: Thirteen, trained H3/H4 classified, male handcyclists (Mean (± SD) age 37 ± 11 yrs; body mass 76.6 ±10.1 kg; peak oxygen consumption 2.8 ± 0.6 l∙min-¹; relative V̇O2peak 36.5 ± 10 ml∙kg∙min-¹) performed a prone bench pull and bench press 1 repetition maximum strength assessment; a 15-km individual time trial; a graded exercise test; and a 15-s all-out sprint test. Relationships between all variables were assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Results: Absolute strength measures displayed a large correlation with gross mechanical efficiency and maximum anaerobic power output (p = 0.05). However, only a small to moderate relationship was identified with all other measures. In contrast, relative strength measures demonstrated large to very large correlations with gross mechanical efficiency, 15-km time velocity, maximum anaerobic power output, peak aerobic power output, power at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·l-1 and peak oxygen consumption (p = 0.05). Conclusion: Relative upper body strength demonstrates a significant relationship with TT velocity and several handcycling performance measures. Relative strength is the product of one’s ability to generate maximal forces relative to body mass. Therefore, the development of one’s absolute strength combined with a reduction in body mass may influence real-world handcycling race performance.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance;
Article published in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance available at https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2020-0580
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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