The relationship between respiratory muscle fatigue, core stability, kinanthropometric attributes and endurance performance in competitive kayakers
The purpose of this study was to determine the physiological and kinanthropometric attributes, respiratory muscle strength, and core stability of successful endurance paddlers, and to investigate the associations of these characteristics with kayak endurance performance in the laboratory and the field. Twenty male competitive paddlers (age: 28 ± SD 7 years, height: 184 ± SD 7 cm and weight: 80 ± SD 7 kg) were categorised in two ability groups, Elite and Sub-Elite. Testing included kinanthropometric measurements, maximum aerobic capacity, pulmonary function, six core stability tests, a 30 min endurance performance test (EPT) on the K1 Ergo and a 10 km time trial (TT) on the water. Maximum inspiratory mouth pressure (MIP) was measured before and after the 30 min EPT on the K1 Ergo to assess respiratory muscle fatigue. The Elite paddlers demonstrated significantly greater values for sitting height (as a percentage of stature), relative VO2max, PPO, PPO/kg, MVV and MIP compared to the Sub-Elite paddlers (All P < 0.05). They also demonstrated a significantly greater average PO and average back stroke length during the 30 min K1 Ergo EPT (P < 0.05) and a significantly faster race time (44:10 ± 1:17 vs 47:34 ± 3:14 min:s) during the 10 km water TT (P < 0.05), compared to the Sub-Elite paddlers. The paddlers did not experience respiratory muscle fatigue (as determined by change in MIP) after the 30 min K1 Ergo EPT. Significant intraclass correlations coefficients of r = 0.81 for average PO (30 min K1 Ergo EPT), r = 0.76 for MIP, and r = 0.95 for 10 km performance time, revealed the high repeatability of these tests. Significant relationships were found between the two endurance performance tests (30 min K1 Ergo EPT and 10 km water TT, r = -0.64, P < 0.05) and between both tests and a number of kinanthropometric, physiological and respiratory muscle function parameters. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that PPO and MVV predicted endurance performance (average PO) on the K1 Ergo (R2 = 0.75, SEE = 15 W), whereas relative VO2max and best MIP predicted 10 km performance time on the water (R2 = 0.64, SEE = 115 s). The results of this study suggest that superior maximum aerobic capacities and respiratory muscle function distinguish successful paddlers from less successful paddlers and may be used to predict kayak endurance performance in the laboratory as well as on the water. No respiratory muscle fatigue occurred during the 30 min K1 Ergo EPT, indicating that respiratory muscle fatigue may not be a limiting factor to 30 min kayak endurance performance. The core stability results demonstrated no relevance to kayak endurance performance.