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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Oxygen consumption during kayak paddling Gray, Georgina Louise


Over a typical 10,000 metre race, flatwater kayak paddlers frequently employ a technique termed "wash riding" in an effort to reduce energy expenditure. This technique is characterized by the kayak paddler travelling on his competitor's wake, and at a strategic moment dropping off the wake to sprint ahead. Investigations to determine actual energy expenditure during flatwater kayak paddling during tactical manoeuvers, to date, have been inadequate. Thus the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of wash riding on energy expenditure in 10 elite male flatwater kayak athletes (age=25 ± 6.5 yrs., height.=183.6 ± 4.4 cm, mass=83.9 ± 6.1 kg) while kayak paddling under "wash riding" (WR) and "non-wash riding" (NWR) conditions. The exercise test was designed to allow for comparison of minute ventilation (VE), oxygen consumption (V0₂) and heart rate (HR) at submaximal velocities (10,000 metre "steady state" race pace). The exercise protocol consisted of a standardized warm-up, followed by a 2000 metre trial of either WR or NWR. The pace to be maintained (3.7 m/sec), was based on an extrapolation of the 1991 Canadian Canoe Association National Championship 10,000 metre race winning time. Following the first trial there was a twenty minute rest period, which was then followed by a second trial involving the alternate condition. VE, V0₂ and HR were measured every 15 s over the full 2000 metre distance during both conditions using the Cosmed K2 portable telemetry system. Measurements recorded between the 500 and 1500 metre mark were used for analysis in order to examine the effects of wash riding during the steady state aerobic work. A mean value of the eighteen measurements recorded for each variable between 500 and 1500 metres, was calculated for each subject. Statistical analysis of the mean values for VE, V0₂ , and HR was performed using the Hotelling's T² statistic and revealed signifcant (p < 0.05) differences between the WR and NWR trials. Mean values for VE (L•min⁻¹) were (WR) 113 ± 16.5 and (NWR) 126.3 ± 15.7; V0₂ (L•min⁻¹)= (WR) 3.22 ± 0.32 and (NWR) 3.63 ± 0.3 ; and HR (bpm) = (WR) 167 ± 9.9 and (NWR) 174 ± 8.0 . Confidence intervals calculated for VE, V0₂ , and HR revealed that all three dependent variables contributed to the overall significant difference. There is a considerable saving (11 %) in the energy cost of paddling at a standardized velocity utilizing the WR technique. This finding has implications for the design of training programs and competitive strategy plans for flatwater kayak racing.

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