Rolling rhythms in front crawl swimming with six-beat kick

J Biomech. 2009 Feb 9;42(3):273-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.10.037. Epub 2008 Dec 30.


The purpose of this study was to establish the rhythm characteristics of skilled front crawl swimmers using a six-beat kick. These included the amplitudes of the first three Fourier harmonics (H1, H2, H3) and their percent contributions to power contained in the angular displacement signals of the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles with respect to the longitudinal axis in line with the swimming direction. Three-dimensional video data of seven national/international level swimmers were collected during simulated 200m front crawl races in which swimmers maintained six-beat kicking patterns. Swimmers differed in all variables but had small variability across the four 50m laps. Modest changes occurred during the 200m, with the exception of shoulder roll, which remained constant and was represented almost entirely by a single sinusoid (H1). Changes across laps reached significance for swimming speed, stroke rate, hip roll, and H3 wave velocity between the knee and ankle. A H3 body wave of moderate and increasing velocity travelled caudally from hip to ankle. In the light of existing knowledge of aquatic locomotion this was compatible with the goal of generating propulsion in an efficient manner.

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Hip / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis