Importance of different upper body strength qualities in the prediction of 30s on-water kayak sprint performance

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Since 2012, the 200m kayak sprint has been a part of the Olympic program. As this is the shortest kayak distance on the Olympic program (1), changes in the athletes training programs may be necessary to achieve optimal performance. It has previously been shown, that maximal upper-body strength can to some extent, determine a 200m kayak performance in elite kayakers (2). However, there is limited evidence regarding the transfer of different upper body strength qualities to on-water kayak performance and to which extent these tests can predict sprinting performance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between maximal isometric, explosive, dynamic, and endurance strength in the bench-press and -pull exercises and a 30 sec flat-water sprint performance. 37 national elite sprint kayakers participated in the study. 22 men (age 17.5±1.8 years, body mass 75.6±10.7 kg, height 181.5±8.1 cm) and 15 women (age 17.2±1.4 years, body mass 63.7±7.1 kg, height 170.7±5.4 cm) A GPS-based accelerometer was used to determine the distance traveled during the on-water sprint tests. An AMTI force plate was used to measure force in the vertical direction in the isometric bench press and pull test. Partial least squares regression analysis (PLS) was performed as an exploratory regression model to elucidate which of the independent variables were more important in predicting on-water sprint performance. In the PLS analysis latent factor 1 was used as it explained most of the variance alone. The proportion of variance explained in the model was 64.1% for the independent variables (X variance) and 61.7% for the dependent variable (Y variance). The proportion of variance explained for the whole model was 60.4% (adjusted R2)The regression coefficients of the two most important independent variables were: 0.474 (bench press, 1RM) and 0.216 (bench pull, 1RM). In conclusion, 1RM bench press and 1RM bench pull were found to be the best predictors for a 30s on-water kayak sprint performance. However, it is difficult to declare which of the two is most important for a 30 sec sprint performance. Further investigation is needed to determine if there is causality between the strength parameters and kayak sprint performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventVIII International Congress of Coaches of Sprint Canoeing 2022 - Pontevedra, Spain
Duration: 28 Oct 202230 Oct 2022


ConferenceVIII International Congress of Coaches of Sprint Canoeing 2022
Internet address


  • Kayak
  • Strength
  • Bench Press
  • performance prediction
  • strength and conditioning
  • sprint canoeing
  • sprint performance


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