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Bjerkefors, A, Jansson, A, Thorstensson, A. (2006). Shoulder muscle strength in paraplegics before and after kayak ergometer training. Eur J Appl Physiol 97: 613–618.
The purpose of this study was to look at the effects of 10-weeks of kayak ergometer training on voluntary shoulder strength in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI), post–rehabilitation, and to compare with strength characteristics of a matched group of persons without SCI.
Participants:The study sample consisted of 20 participants (10 persons with SCI and 10 controls without SCI). There were 7 male and 3 female participants in the SCI group with injury levels ranging from T3 to T12 and years post-injury ranging from 3 to 26. The 10 controls (without SCI) had similar body measures and took part in strength tests but did not engage in training.
Methods:Participants paddled on a modified commercially available kayak ergometer for 60 minutes, 3 times a week for 10 weeks. Shoulder strength was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. Strength measurements were performed in three identical sets, four maximal contractions in each direction, in an alternating fashion and interspersed by a rest period of 4 seconds between each contraction. A 2 minute break was allowed between sets of contractions.
Results:Results showed that kayak ergometer training does provide enough stimuli to improve maximal voluntary shoulder muscle strength in persons with SCI without associated shoulder problems or symptoms of overload.
Conclusions:Kayak ergometer training may be an accessible and effective means for increasing shoulder muscle strength in persons with SCI. Improvements of shoulder muscle strength may assist with daily functional activities such as transferring from and propelling a wheelchair, as well as contribute to improved upper body stabilization and balance control.