Wetsuit – Factors related to the advantageous effects of wearing a wetsuit during swimming

 

By Joshua Burns

 

This study was designed to compare the effects of wetsuit to swimsuit at identical speeds in a swimming flume.

 

Thirteen triathletes performed a continuous progressive swimming test and submaximal steady state swimming tests with a wetsuit and with a swimsuit.

 

These results suggest that the benefits of wearing a wetsuit are not only improvement in swimming performance and propulsion efficiency, but reduction in gross energy consumption in the swimming portion of triathlon races. Furthermore, when wearing a wetsuit, incremental changes in stroke rate rather than stroke length are associated with improved swimming performance.

 

Two 5 min swims (at 60% VVO2max (V(60%)) and 80% VVO2max (V(80%))) were then conducted to measure VO2max, blood lactate concentration (LA), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), the energy cost of swimming (Cs), stroke rate (SR) and stroke length (SL). No difference was found in VO2max, but VVO2max with a WS was 5.4% higher than with a SS. VO2 with a WS was lower than with a SS alone at V(60%), but not at V(80%). Cs with a WS was lower by 14.4% at V(60%) and 7.5% at V(80%) than with a SS. No differences were found in LA and RPE between suit conditions during both submaximal swims. Wearing a WS did not affect SL, but SR tended to be higher in a WS for both submaximal velocities.

 

Source: Tomikawa M. Shimoyama Y. Nomura T. Factors related to the advantageous effects of wearing a wetsuit during swimming at different submaximal velocity in triathletes. 11(4):417-23, 2008 Jul.

By: Joshua Burns

Source: Tomikawa M. Shimoyama Y. Nomura T. Factors related to the advantageous effects of wearing a wetsuit during swimming at different submaximal velocity in triathletes. 11(4):417-23, 2008 Jul.

 

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Karl Hayes

Head of Rest and Recovery

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.