Effects of arm strength development programs on swimming speed
Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effectiveness of two methods of resistive exercises in the development of muscular strength and to determine whether increased muscular strength improved swimming speed. Methods: Fifty-one college men enrolled in three intermediate swimming classes at Sam Houston State University were assigned to one of three groups. Group I participated in an exer-genie training program and a swimming training program. Group II participated in a swimming training program only. Group III served as a control group, participating in a regular intermediate swimming class. The subjects participated in the training programs three days per week for nine weeks. The exer-genie training program included both isometric and isotonic contractions. The subject exerted three 6-second maximum isometric contractions either before or during the isotonic movements against an immoveable resistance provided by the exer-genie. The progressive resistive procedure was followed in executing isotonic contractions. The subject exerted maximum effort against the exer-genie at a moderate rate of speed through a complete range of motion. All exercise movements were performed with a resistance that could be moved only three times through the specified range of motion. The 6-second isometric contraction was performed at a specified position during this isotonic movement. The exercises used to achieve the isometric and isotonic contractions were the curl, bench press, and straight arm pull. Each exercise was executed for one set with a maximal load for three repetitions. The swimming training program consisted of swimming the following routine: (1) eight 25-yard sprints at full speed, using the American crawl only, and (2) arm pull for 100 yards, using no leg kick. Isometric and isotonic strength tests were administered to all the subjects before and after the nine week training program. Isometric strength was measured by the aircraft cable tensiometer, and the 1 RM was used to measure isotonic strength. Both the isometric and isotonic strength tests measured (1) forearm flexion and (2) arm flexion and forearm extension. The swimming speed test was also administered to all the subjects before and after the training period. Each subject, using only his arms, was timed for a 30-yard sprint swim. The comparison of group average pretest and group average posttest scores of the swimming speed test, the isotonic strength test, and the isometric strength test provided the statistical data that was analyzed. The pairing design t-test was used to determine significant differences between group average pretest scores and group average posttest scores of each group. Scores that were significant in the pairing design t-test were examined by the Newman-Keuls multiple-range test, which provided a sequential method of examining all differences between pairs of group means. Findings: 1. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program improved swimming speed, whereas the swimming training program alone did not improve swimming speed. 2. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program increased isometric strength for arm flexion, whereas the swimming training program alone did not increase isometric strength for arm flexion. 3. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program did not increase isometric strength for forearm extension and arm flexion more than did the swimming training program alone. 4. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program increased isotonic strength for (1) forearm extension and arm flexion and (2) forearm flexion more than did the swimming training program alone, but the increases were not statistically higher. 5. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program as well as the swimming training program alone were equally effective in the development of isotonic and isometric strength for forearm extension and arm flexion. 6. A combination of the exer-genie training program and the swimming training program as well as the swimming training program alone produced a greater increase in isotonic strength than in isometric strength for forearm flextion.