Biomechanics of all-out handcycling exercise: kinetics, kinematics and muscular activity of a 15-s sprint test in able-bodied participants

Sports Biomech. 2022 Nov;21(10):1200-1223. doi: 10.1080/14763141.2020.1745266. Epub 2020 May 7.


This study aims to quantify the kinematics, kinetics and muscular activity of all-out handcycling exercise and examine their alterations during the course of a 15-s sprint test. Twelve able-bodied competitive triathletes performed a 15-s all-out sprint test in a recumbent racing handcycle that was attached to an ergometer. During the sprint test, tangential crank kinetics, 3D joint kinematics and muscular activity of 10 muscles of the upper extremity and trunk were examined using a power metre, motion capturing and surface electromyography (sEMG), respectively. Parameters were compared between revolution one (R1), revolution two (R2), the average of revolution 3 to 13 (R3) and the average of the remaining revolutions (R4). Shoulder abduction and internal-rotation increased, whereas maximal shoulder retroversion decreased during the sprint. Except for the wrist angles, angular velocity increased for every joint of the upper extremity. Several muscles demonstrated an increase in muscular activation, an earlier onset of muscular activation in crank cycle and an increased range of activation. During the course of a 15-s all-out sprint test in handcycling, the shoulder muscles and the muscles associated to the push phase demonstrate indications for short-duration fatigue. These findings are helpful to prevent injuries and improve performance in all-out handcycling.

Keywords: Handbike; Paralympic sport; high-intensity exercise; performance testing; sEMG.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ergometry
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Shoulder*