where the lower body is the main source of energy output, v a l u e s t e n d t o b e a r o u n d 7 3 m l · k g - 1 · m i n - 1 ( B i l l a t e t a l . , 1 9 9 6 , L e e e t a l . , 2 0 0 2 ) a n d 7 4 m l · k g - 1 · m i n - 1 ( L u c 1999) respectively, much higher than those reported for kayaking. When comparing the results from bicycle er- gometry in Tesch et al. (1976) to the results presented for kayak paddling in the same study, it was reported that the oxygen uptake for the 500m races corresponded to 77% of the individual VO2peak during the leg exercise. In the 1000m, the oxygen uptake corresponded to 87% of VO2 peak of the leg exercise. It was also reported by Hahn et al. (1988) that the peak oxygen uptake recorded on the kayak ergometer was 89.1% of the maximal oxygen up- take achieved on the arm/leg ergometer. These studies suggest that physiological differences exist between upper and lower body aerobic exercise. It was therefore specu- lated that if the kayakers VO2 were to be normalised for arm mass and the cyclists for leg mass for example, the differences observed in VO2 may not be quite as large as those presented and thus compare favourably with other endurance sporting events. i a e t a l . ,
It was the purpose of this review to summarise published physiological data relating to men’s and women’s kayaking. It can be concluded that flatwater kayaking is characterised by exceptional demands on upper body performance. A successful kayaker not only requires high aerobic power, but a high anaerobic energy yield and great upper body muscle strength is also of great importance. Consequently the peak relative VO2 value attainable is negatively affected.
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