Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of ergonomic and environmental variations on indoor shuttle run (SR) performance in wheelchair sportsmen.
Methods: Eleven experienced male wheelchair sportsmen performed three 25-m SRs in random order with varying turning capacity (TC) and mechanical resistance (MR): condition NN where participants used their sports wheelchair on a tartan surface, condition RN with increased MR, and condition RD with limited TC. Metabolic data were continuously recorded using a portable K4b(2) system.
Results: Friedman ANOVA with Wilcoxon a posteriori testing indicated similar VO(2peak) values in all three tests. SR performance, however, was significantly different across the three test conditions (NN: 536.18 +/-119.09 s; RN: 488.82+/-119.84 s; RD: 404.91+/-88.41 s). SR performance contributed for 28% of the explained variance of the measured VO(2peak). The addition of TC or MR or both increased the explained variance to 32, 38 and 41%, respectively.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a significant impact of variations in floor surface and wheelchair-user interface on SR performance. The findings also suggest that strong reservations have to be made regarding the validity of a SR test, as predictor of VO(2peak) in a wheelchair user population.