An electromyographic evaluation of dual role breathing and upper body muscles in response to front crawl swimming

M. Lomax, L. Tasker, O. Bostanci

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Abstract

The upper body trunk musculature is key in supporting breathing, propulsion, and stabilization during front crawl swimming. The aim of this study was to determine if the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and serratus anterior contributed to the development of inspiratory muscle fatigue observed following front crawl swimming. Fourteen trained swimmers completed a 200-m front crawl swim at 90% of race pace. Maximal inspiratory and expiratory mouth pressures (PImax and PEmax) were assessed before (baseline) and after each swim, and electromyography was recorded from the three muscles. Post-swim PImax fell by 11% (P < 0.001, d = 0.57) and the median frequency (MDF: a measure of fatigue) of the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and serratus anterior fell to 90% (P = 0.001, d = 1.57), 87% (P = 0.001, r = −0.60) and 89% (P = 0.018, d = 1.04) of baseline, respectively. The fall in serratus anterior MDF was correlated with breathing frequency (r = 0.675, P = 0.008) and stroke rate (r = 0.639, P = 0.014). The results suggest that the occurrence of inspiratory muscle fatigue was partly caused by fatigue of these muscles, and that breathing frequency and stroke rate particularly affect the serratus anterior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e472-e478
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Volume25
Issue number5
Early online date30 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

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