Characterization of Leg Push Forces and Their Relationship to Velocity in On-Water Sprint Kayaking

Kent Kongsøre Klitgaard*, Hans Rosdahl, René Børge Korsgaard Brund, John Hansen, Mark de Zee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this work was to describe the leg-muscle-generated push force characteristics in sprint kayak paddlers for females and males on water. Additionally, the relationship between leg pushing force characteristics and velocity was investigated. Twenty-eight paddlers participated in the study. The participants had five minutes of self-chosen warm-up and were asked to paddle at three different velocities, including maximal effort. Left-and right-side leg extension force were collected together with velocity. Linear regression analyses were performed with leg extension force characteristics as independent variables and velocity as the dependent variable. A second linear regression analysis investigated the effect of paddling velocity on different leg extension force characteristics with an explanatory model. The results showed that the leg pushing force elicits a sinus-like pattern, increasing and decreasing throughout the stroke cycle. Impulse over 10 s showed the highest correlation to maximum velocity (r = 0.827, p < 0.01), while a strong co-correlation was observed between the impulse per stroke cycle and mean force (r = 0.910, p < 0.01). The explanatory model results revealed that an increase in paddling velocity is, among other factors, driven by increased leg force. Maximal velocity could predict 68% of the paddlers’ velocity within 1 km/h with peak leg force, impulse over 10 s, and stroke rate (p-value < 0.001, adjusted R-squared = 0.8). Sprint kayak paddlers elicit a strong positive relationship between leg pushing forces and velocity. The results confirm that sprint kayakers’ cyclic leg movement is a key part of the kayaking technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6790
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Leg forces
  • Sprint kayak
  • Footrest force
  • Biomechanics
  • Force measurements


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