Physical Performance Measures that Predict Success in Competitive Senior Swimmers

Katie Nour, SPT, Maggie Loudenslager, SPT, and Travis Bolstad, SPT

DPT2019 Senior Swimmers Nour Loudenslager Bolstad.jpg

 

(Click on image to expand)

22 Comments on “Physical Performance Measures that Predict Success in Competitive Senior Swimmers

  1. Shoulder flexion is important for backstroke, but there are other muscles working also, as well as other swimming patterns which emphasis different muscle groups. So how was shoulder flexion selected to test for screening strength?

    Like

    • Thanks for the question Macey. The SAFE screen is a screen that had already been established and validated, therefore, we were not able to add or take out any of it components. When it was established years back they chose to only measure shoulder flexion ROM, therefore limiting our research results. This would be a great idea for future research to look at all the different shoulder ROM measurements and how they correlate to swimming results.

      Thanks again!

      Like

  2. Why was sit to stand measured in this research project if swimming, like stated in the poster, a upper body dominated sport? Was it testing core strength or other regional muscle groups?
    Were there any vast differences in gender results at the end of the research?

    Like

    • Thanks for the question Niccole! We felt that it was important to look at lower body strength, as well as upper body strength, in order to be able to prove what we already assumed, which was that swimming is an upper body dominated sport. As Katie stated above, the SAFE screen that we used was a pre-established screen, which included the five time sit to stand, and as we know, the five time sit to stand is a good measurement of overall lower body strength. The variability in the five time sit to stand significance gave us the ability to say that lower body strength is less important for successful outcomes than upper body strength.
      As for any vast differences in gender results, they typically trended in the same direction. The only place that there was a larger difference in was the number of events that the five time sit to stand was significant in. It was significant in more male events than female events.
      Hope that answers your question!

      Like

  3. Do Senior Games athletes participate in multiple events? If so, did you notice any athletes success in your research correlate to their other events?

    Like

    • Yes Anthony, many athletes participate in more than one sport. We purposely wanted to just focus on the event of swimming. However, future research should focus on these multi-sport athletes and their results on the SAFE compared to their competition results. We also did not take into consideration the timing of our testing in regards to those athletes that participate in many events. If some of the athletes are participating in multiple events on the same day of testing, that may affect their results.

      Thanks for the questions Anthony!

      Like

  4. There was no mention of the sit to stand results in the testing. I believe there is a type in the “Five Times sit to stand” section, should it be “throughout the different strokes?” plural on strokes?

    Like

    • Hey Kristin! I think you may be right with the typo, good catch. As for the sit to stand results, the test was not specifically mentioned within the results section as it did not show to be a consistent factor of success in senior swimmers through the step wise regression analysis or pearson correlation. We do however state the inconsistent significance within the discussion section. Thank you for your question!

      Like

  5. Margaret stated in a previous reply that the 5 time sit to stand test was utilized to assess lower body strength. However, you stated in the discussion that it was not a consistent measure. If you could do this study again, would you still utilize the five time sit to stand test? Swimming is also an endurance event – I would imagine – did you consider conducting a cardiovascular endurance type test?

    Like

    • Thanks for the question James! As previously mentioned, the SAFE screen is a screen that has already been established and validated. Therefore, we were not able to change any of its components and thus could not include a more cardiovascular endurance test. Much of the research supports the 5 time sit to stand test being a predictor of lower body strength. The discussion is simply stating that the 5 time sit to stand was not a significant predictor (in our research) of success in swimming, which makes sense since swimming is predominantly an upper body sport. We were not stating that the 5 time sit to stand was not a predictor of lower extremity strength, just that it did not predict success in swimmers. Hope this clarifies a few things!

      Thanks James!

      Like

  6. Good job on the poster, it is very organized! I noticed that you listed the inclusion criteria for this study, but I did not see any exclusion criteria. Was there any? If there wasn’t was there a particular reason for not having any? I just wonder if past injuries, co-morbidities or other factors may have contributed to some of the inconsistencies or impacted the results in some way, shape, or form. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    Like

    • Thanks for the question Blake! We did not have any specific exclusion criteria as we used the data from every person that competed in swimming events at the NSG. This in itself gives some exclusion criteria, as no one under the age of 50 is allowed to compete. We did not add in any other exclusion criteria, as we were looking at all age groups and all placements, in order to see successful vs. non successful outcomes. We also did not want to narrow down our already small sample size. We did discuss that it would be interesting for future research to focus on analyzing the effect that co-morbidities or joint replacements would have on the events. Hope this answers your question!

      Like

  7. Can the data collected allow for categorization of the results based on age categories? I am genuinely interested to see comparisons of results based on age groups.

    Like

    • Tanner,
      Yes we organized all of the outcomes in several categories, and age was one of the variables we recorded. Theoretically you could run similar tests based on age instead of the variables we used and see results based on age groups. With participants ranging from 50-100+, the results would be interesting!

      Like

  8. Building off of Tanner’s question, did you note how long each of the subjects had been competitively swimming for? It would be interesting to see how swimming affects the subject over time.

    Like

    • Good question Hannah! Unfortunately this was not apart of the subjective history that we got from every athlete. Although we did not specifically ask how long they have been competing, we did ask how often they trained weekly. It is not apart of our data, but for many of the more talkative volunteers they would mention how long they have been doing their training regime, and anecdotally it seemed to be an even mix of individuals who have been apart of the sport throughout their life and people who picked it up as a means to compete in their senior years. If you are still interested, I suggest checking out the other Senior Games study as, even though they have the same data that we had, they compared these senior swimmers to other sports to understand how swimming affects these individuals.

      Like

  9. Great poster, you guys! Interesting study to look at. After reading through some of the comments I too am wondering what muscle groups were contributing to success of these elite athletes. If feasible (I understand use of the SAFE screen did not allow for this) which ROM or strength assessment would you like to see collected and analyzed for results? I, personally, would like to see IR/ER ROM and strength as I think a lot of success for this sport comes from within the shoulder girdle.

    Like

    • Brooke,
      It would be very interesting to choose more strength and ROM measurements to look at, which could possibly back up our theories. Personally, I would be very interested in testing latissimus dorsi, upper/middle/ and lower trapezius, pec, and RC strength along with RC ROM. I also think it would have been very interesting if we could have included wing span measurements, even though that is more of a genetic factor, and we were specifically looking at variables that could be modified with conditioning. Hope this answers your question!

      Like

  10. Hello all sorry this question comes late. Great study and organization of it. Swimming is a sport that appears to be dominated by upper body strength, but in my experiences lower extremity and core strength/power are often the biggest determinant in stroke performance, technique, and success of the swimmer. Because of this, I was surprised that the 5xSTS did not show significant results for any of the events being that this test challenges these things. Why do you suppose this test had the results that it did? And which test do you think would be better to determine these variables?

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Good question Colton! We were also very surprised to see that the 5TSTS was not significant in regards to levels of success in this population. We are not completely sure on why this is, but it may mean that these swimmers are utilizing the upper body more to pull them through the water than they are using their lower body. Even though it was not significant, that doesn’t mean that it is not important to have a strong core and lower extremity strength. And I believe that the 5TSTS is the best and most efficient test to ascertain lower extremity strength, but to delve into more specific muscle strength, we could have manually tested the muscles with a gross motor screen.

      Like

  11. Hello Researchers,

    I have a quick question pertaining to the participants themselves. I noticed that a large majority of the subjects included in your research were women. Was this due to a lack of participation by the male swimming athletes, or was it just due to the fact that more females were present at the senior games? My other question pertains to the shoulder flexion AROM. Did the same person measure shoulder ROM via goniometer, use a stopwatch 5xSTS, etc for every subject in your study? Thank you!

    Like

    • Good questions Will! We do not have much control over the male:female ratio that stops at our booth to get tested. This is a volunteer test, making it hard to have even sample sizes of males and females. I am not sure if there are more women or men that compete in the senior games, but this would be interesting to look up. All of this information is public on the national senior games website (nsga.com). As for the administration of our tests and measures, there were different raters that administered each test. Although we spent most of our time administering one test, we did switch and rotate once and awhile. With that being said, the research shows there to be high inter-rater reliability for most of the tests we administered, which we talk more about in our manuscript.

      Thanks again Will!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s