Resisted Propulsion Power in Wheelchair Athletes

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Resisted propulsion has been recommended to train propulsion power in wheelchair athletes. However, prescription for such training is not provided and is most often adopted from able-bodied sports training. Wheelchair athletes have unique considerations as their level of impairment will affect their performance ability. This study examined findings and recommendations from able-bodied training, sought maximal propulsion power producing loads in wheelchair athletes and examined the relationship between maximal propulsion power and other trainable exercises. A review of able-bodied resisted sprint training revealed resisted sprint training did not significantly improve sprint performance over short distances from rest (Hedges' d ES = 0.11, p = 0.09). More recent studies however have indicated that heavier loads are likely to produce more favorable results. Seventeen competitive wheelchair athletes participated in trials to measure maximal power, its related parameters, and to test the repeatability of power output. Maximal propulsion power was found to be [mean (SD)] 371.60 (134.09)W and was very repeatable (ICC = 0.93, p < 0.001). The percent of maximal velocity the maximal power load induced was 50.16% (7.51) which matches values found in able-bodied athletes. Maximal wheelchair propulsion power was significantly related to class (r = 0.62, p = 0.009) and field-tests of medicine ball throw (r = 0.55, p = 0.02) and 20-m sprint velocity (r = 0.65, p = 0.005). With a better understanding of maximal propulsion power, practitioners and researchers can explore the dosage and training outcomes. KEY WORDS: resisted sprinting, wheelchair propulsion, wheelchair sport, power

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Power, resisted sprinting, wheelchair propulsion, wheelchair sport