Physiological and Physical Characteristics of Elite Dragon Boat Paddlers
Ho, SR, Smith, RM, Chapman, PG, Sinclair, PJ, and Funato, K. Physiological and physical characteristics of elite dragon boat paddlers. J Strength Cond Res 27(1): 137–145, 2013—The objectives of this study were to profile the physiological and physical characteristics of elite dragon boat paddlers, to identify characteristics that predict race performance and to quantify the metabolic energy contributions to simulated 200-m and 500-m dragon boat racing. Eleven, national level, male, Japanese dragon boat paddlers completed a battery of tests on a paddling ergometer including an incremental maximal aerobic capacity test, a 2-minute maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD) test, and simulated 200-m and 500-m races. A physiological and physical profile of subjects was compiled. Results showed that 200-m race performance correlated with flexed arm girth and excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) measured in the 30 minutes after the MAOD test, whereas 500-m race performance correlated with body fat percentage, relaxed and flexed arm girth, MAOD, EPOC, and peak power during the MAOD test. Stepwise multiple regression revealed that flexed arm girth was the most powerful predictor of 200-m and 500-m race performance, followed by EPOC with the combination of these 2 factors able to explain 74% and 68% of the variance in 200-m and 500-m race performance, respectively. Aerobic energy contributions for 200-m (50 seconds) and 500-m (1 minute 50 seconds) races were (mean (95% confidence intervals)) 52.1% (range, 47.4–56.8%) and 67.5% (range, 60.1–77.8%), respectively. In conclusion, coaches should develop training programs targeted at developing upper-body musculature and increasing anaerobic capacity because these factors are the strongest predictors of 200-m and 500-m race performance. Given the substantial aerobic energy contributions even for a 200-m race event, coaches should aim to increase the maximal aerobic capacity of the paddler in preparation for both 200-m and 500-m events.