OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects on handcycling performance and physiological responses, of: (i) making a closed chain by comparing handcycling in a recumbent bike with 2-feet footrest (closed chain) with handcycling with 1 footrest (partial closed chain) and without a footrest (no closed chain); (ii) equipment by comparing handcycling in a recumbent bike with a kneeling bike.
METHODS: Ten able-bodied participants performed submaximal exercise and sprint tests, once in a knee-ling bike and 3 times on a recumbent: 2-feet support, 1-foot support and without foot support. Physical strain (submaximal oxygen uptake and heart rate), peak (POpeak) and mean power output (POmean) were measured.
RESULTS: Significantly higher POpeak and POmean were found with 2-feet support (mean 415 W (standard deviation (SD) 163) and mean 281 W (SD 96)) and higher POmean with 1-foot support (mean 279 W (SD 104)) compared with no foot support (mean 332 W (SD 127) and mean 254 W (SD 101)), p < 0.05. No differences were found for physical strain. In the kneeling bike, POpeak and POmean were significantly higher (mean 628 W (SD 231) and 391 W (SD 121)) than in the recumbent (mean 415 W (SD 163) and 281 W (SD 96)), p = 0.001.
CONCLUSION: The ability to make a closed chain has a significant positive effect on handcycling sprint performance; therefore, this ability may be a discriminating factor. Sprint performance was significantly higher in kneeling compared with recumbent handcycling.