Wrist stabilisation and forearm muscle coactivation during freestyle swimming

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2007 Jun;17(3):285-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.02.005. Epub 2006 May 4.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the stabilisation of the wrist joint and the ad hoc wrist muscles activations during the two principal phases of the freestyle stroke. Seven male international swimmers performed a maximal semi-tethered power test. A swimming ergometer fixed on the start area of the pool was used to collect maximal power. The electromyography signal (EMG) of the right flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) and extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) was recorded with surface electrodes and processed using the integrated EMG (IEMG). Frontal and sagittal video views were digitised frame by frame to determine the wrist angle in the sagittal plane and the principal phases of the stroke (insweep, outsweep). Important stabilisation of the wrist and high antagonist muscle activity were observed during the insweep phase due to the great mechanical constraints. In outsweep, less stabilisation and lower antagonist activities were noted. Factors affecting coactivations in elementary movements, e.g. intensity and instability of the load, accuracy and economy of the movement were confirmed in complex aquatic movement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography*
  • Forearm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Video Recording
  • Wrist Joint / physiology*