Longitudinal Interventions in Elite Swimming: A Systematic Review Based on Energetics, Biomechanics, and Performance


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Abstract

Costa, MJ, Bragada, JA, Marinho, DA, Silva, AJ, and Barbosa, TM. Longitudinal interventions in elite swimming: A systematic review based on energetics, biomechanics, and performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(7): 2006–2016, 2012—Longitudinal information requires the notion of repeated measurements throughout time. Such data is important because it allows the determination of the effectiveness of an intervention program. Research in competitive swimming has given special emphasis to energetics and biomechanics as determinant domains to improve performance. The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize longitudinal evidences on the energetic, biomechanical, and performance status of elite swimmers. A computerized search was made in 6 databases, conference proceedings, and department files. The 28 studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria were selected for analysis. Studies' qualitative evaluation was made by 2 independent reviewers using the Quality Index. These studies were then gathered into 3 main categories according to their reported data: energetics (n = 18), biomechanics (n = 9), and performance (n = 8). The conclusions were as follows: (a) elite swimmers are able to demonstrate from slight to substantial changes in their performance and energetic and biomechanical profiles within and between seasons; (b) the magnitude of change is dependent on the characteristics of the training programs, the duration of the intervention, and subject's gender; and (c) future research should emphasize the use of more complex procedures to improve the quality of the interventions.

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