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Vertical ground reaction force responses to


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Vertical ground reaction force responses to different


head-out aquatic exercises performed in water and on
dry land
a

Cristine Lima Alberton , Paula Finatto , Stephanie Santana Pinto , Amanda Haberland
b

Antunes , Eduardo Lusa Cadore , Marcus Peikriszwili Tartaruga & Luiz Fernando Martins
b

Kruel
a

Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil

Physical Education School, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Physical Education School, Midwest State University of Parana, Guarapuava, Brazil


Published online: 30 Oct 2014.

To cite this article: Cristine Lima Alberton, Paula Finatto, Stephanie Santana Pinto, Amanda Haberland Antunes,
Eduardo Lusa Cadore, Marcus Peikriszwili Tartaruga & Luiz Fernando Martins Kruel (2014): Vertical ground reaction force
responses to different head-out aquatic exercises performed in water and on dry land, Journal of Sports Sciences, DOI:
10.1080/02640414.2014.964748
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Journal of Sports Sciences, 2014


http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2014.964748

Vertical ground reaction force responses to different head-out aquatic


exercises performed in water and on dry land

CRISTINE LIMA ALBERTON1, PAULA FINATTO2, STEPHANIE SANTANA PINTO1,


AMANDA HABERLAND ANTUNES2, EDUARDO LUSA CADORE2, MARCUS
PEIKRISZWILI TARTARUGA3 & LUIZ FERNANDO MARTINS KRUEL2
Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil, 2Physical Education School, Federal University of
Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil and 3Physical Education School, Midwest State University of Parana,
Guarapuava, Brazil

Downloaded by [Cristine Alberton] at 14:19 05 November 2014

(Accepted 9 September 2014)

Abstract
The purpose was to analyse the vertical ground reaction forces (Fz) of head-out aquatic exercises [stationary running (SR),
frontal kick (FK), cross-country skiing (CCS), jumping jacks (JJ), adductor hop (ADH) and abductor hop (ABH)] at two
cadences in both aquatic and dry land environments. Twelve young women completed two sessions in each environment,
each consisting of three exercises performed at two cadences (rst and second ventilatory thresholds C1 and C2,
respectively). Two-way and three-way repeated measures analysis of variance were used to the statistical analysis. The
results showed that the peak Fz and impulse were signicantly lower in the aquatic environment, resulting in values from
28.2% to 58.5% and 60.4% to 72.8% from those obtained on dry land, respectively. In the aquatic environment, the peak Fz
was lower and the impulse was higher at the C1 than at the C2. Furthermore, it was observed that SR and FK (0.91.1 BW)
elicited a signicantly higher peak Fz values compared to the ADH and JJ exercises (0.50.8 BW). It can be concluded that
the aquatic environment reduces the Fz during head-out aquatic exercises. It should be noted that its magnitude is also
dependent on the intensity and the identity of the exercise performed.
Keywords: impact, impulse, aquatic exercises, ventilatory thresholds

1. Introduction
Head-out aquatic exercises are commonly used for
rehabilitation and physical tness. Individuals with
osteoarticular diseases, the elderly and the obese
may benet from exercising in water (Bento,
Pereira, Ugrinowitsch, & Rodacki, 2012; Elbar
et al., 2013; Jones, Meredith-Jones, & Legge, 2009;
Rica et al., 2013; Silva et al., 2008; Takeshima et al.,
2002) due to the different physiological and biomechanical characteristics of these exercises compared
to land-based exercises. Water immersion exposes
the body to hydrostatic pressure, which is the main
factor contributing to the physiological alterations
present during the aquatic exercises (Watenpaugh,
Pump, Bie, & Norsk, 2000). Furthermore, buoyant
forces result in a reduction of the participants apparent weights (approximately 70% at the xiphoid process depth), which implies a lower resultant force
acting on the structures of the body (Alberton,
Tartaruga, et al., 2013; Harrison, Hillman, &

Bulstrode, 1992), as well as different ground reaction forces present during head-out aquatic
exercises.
Analyses of the ground reaction forces have been
investigated over the last two decades mainly focusing on rehabilitation settings and assessing specially
water walking (Barela & Duarte, 2008; Barela, Stolf,
& Duarte, 2006; Harrison et al., 1992; Haupenthal,
Brito-Fontana, Ruschel, Santos, & Roesler, 2013;
Haupenthal, Ruschel, Hubert, Brito Fontana, &
Roesler, 2010; Miyoshi, Shirota, Yamamoto,
Nakazawa, & Akai, 2004; Nakazawa, Yano, &
Miyashita, 1994; Roesler, Haupenthal, Schtz, &
Souza, 2006). Harrison and Bulstrode (1987), the
pioneers in this research area, investigated the percentual reduction in apparent weight during water
walking in different depths compared to dry land.
Afterwards, other studies were conducted to analyse
the vertical, anteroposterior and mediolateral components of the ground reaction force during shallow

Correspondence: Cristine Lima Alberton, Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Rua Lus de Cames, 625, Pelotas 96055630, Brazil.
E-mail: tinialberton@yahoo.com.br
2014 Taylor & Francis

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C. L. Alberton et al.

water walking, paying special attention to the comparisons between different immersion depths, velocities of motion and load conditions (Haupenthal
et al., 2013, 2010; Miyoshi, Nakazawa, Tanizaki,
Sato, & Akai, 2006; Miyoshi et al., 2004; Roesler
et al., 2006). Recently, other types of aquatic exercise have received attention, such as backwards water
walking (Carneiro et al., 2012), squat jump (Colado
et al., 2010; Triplett et al., 2009) and specic aerobic head-out aquatic exercises (stationary running,
frontal kick and cross-country skiing) (Alberton,
Tartaruga, et al., 2013; Brito-Fontana et al., 2012).
In contrast to the wide knowledge about vertical
ground reaction force (Fz) pattern during water
walking, only two studies were conceived with the
purpose of describing these biomechanical patterns
during different head-out aquatic exercises
(Alberton, Tartaruga, et al., 2013; Brito-Fontana
et al., 2012). Brito-Fontana et al. (2012) analysed
the Fz during the stationary running performed at
two immersion depths and at three submaximal
cadences. Lower Fz values were observed for the
chest compared to the hip depth. In addition, signicant differences were observed in the lower
cadence compared to the two higher cadences.
Alberton, Tartaruga, et al. (2013) compared the Fz
between three exercises (stationary running, frontal
kick and cross-country skiing) performed at three
cadences in the aquatic environment. Lower Fz
values were found for the lower cadence compared
to the two higher intensities. Moreover, this analysis
of different exercises revealed that cross-country skiing resulted in lower Fz compared to the other exercises. In the above-mentioned studies, three specic
head-out aquatic exercises were investigated, all of
which were performed in the sagittal plane with
similar characteristics.
Aerobic head-out aquatic exercise session comprises a large number of exercises, such as walking,
running, kicking, jumping, rocking and scissors
(Sanders, 2000), performed mainly in the sagittal
and frontal planes of movement. However, the literature concerning biomechanical parameters in
head-out aquatic exercises focuses mainly on that
performed in the sagittal plane, such as water walking, stationary running, frontal kick and cross-country skiing. It might be due to the fact that these
exercises elicit greater muscle groups (e.g. exor
and extensors hip and knee) in contrast to the exercises performed in the frontal plane (e.g. adductor
and abductor hip), and consequently, greater oxygen
uptake and heart hate during their performance
(Alberton, Olkoski, Becker, Pinto, & Kruel, 2007;
Alberton, Antunes, et al., 2013; Raffaelli, Lanza,
Zanolla, & Zamparo, 2010). In addition, some studies have assessed physiological parameters during
aquatic exercises performed in more than one plane

at the same time (Alberton, Olkoski, Becker, Pinto,


& Kruel, 2007; Barbosa, Garrido, & Bragada, 2007).
Exercises performed in the frontal plane have
received little attention in the literature regarding
biomechanical parameters during head-out aquatic
exercises (Costa et al., 2011) despite the fact that
their cardiorespiratory responses have been investigated in previous studies (Alberton et al., 2007;
Alberton, Antunes, et al., 2013; Raffaelli et al.,
2010). To the best of the authors knowledge, data
on the Fz responses to these head-out aquatic exercises are scarce. Because head-out aquatic programmes are widely recommended to individuals
who cannot be subjected to physical activities with
high impacts on the lower limbs, it is extremely
important to quantify the Fz responses during different exercises performed in the sagittal and frontal
planes to select the most adequate response for the
purposes of the aquatic programme. Therefore, the
aim of the present study was to compare the peak Fz
(Fzpeak) and impulse (I) responses in women performing six head-out aquatic exercises at two
cadences in aquatic and dry land environments. It
was hypothesised that lower peak Fz values and
impulse responses would be found in an aquatic
environment, with differing values among exercises
and between cadences.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Participants
Twelve physically active, healthy women volunteered
to participate in the present study (mean s age:
23.4 2.1 years; height: 162.9 7.9 cm; body mass:
58.1 6.1 kg and fat mass: 28.4 4.1%). The
participants were familiar with the aquatic environment; had engaged in aquatic programmes for at
least 3 months; and were free of any musculoskeletal, bone and joint, or cardiac and pulmonary diseases. To participate in this study, all participants
were required to read and sign a written informed
consent, which contained all of the information concerning the procedures and potential risks involved
in participation. The study was conducted according
to the ethical standards of the Declaration of
Helsinki and was approved by the Local Research
Ethics Committee (register number 17462).
2.2. Experimental procedure
An initial session was held to collect sample characterisation data according to standard procedures.
Body mass and height measurements were obtained
using an analogue medical scale and a stadiometer
(FILIZOLA, Sao Paulo, Brazil). Skin folds were
measured using a plicometer (LANGE, Cambridge,

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Ground reaction force in aquatic exercises


UK) to estimate the body density, according to the
protocol proposed by Jackson, Pollock, and Ward
(1980). Body fat was subsequently calculated using
the Siri (1993) equation.
A familiarisation session with the six exercises was
provided for each individual. Although the participants participate on regular head-out aquatic programmes, this familiarisation was necessary in order
to explain all of the details of the care and range of
movement that would be considered when performing the exercises. Stationary running (SR), frontal
kick (FK), cross-country skiing (CCS), jumping
jacks (JJ), adductor hop (ADH) and abductor hop
(ABH) were the six exercises selected for this study
since they are widely used on regular head-out aquatic sessions and comprise different planes of
movement.
All exercises were performed in two phases, with
each segmental action (i.e. hip exion or extension,
and hip adduction or abduction) performed in one
beat. Stationary running (Figure 1A) and frontal kick
(Figure 1B) are characterised as exercises performed
with a single support and ight phase. Cross-country
skiing (Figure 1C) and jumping jacks (Figure 1D)
are characterised as exercises performed with bipedal
support and the change of the foot support phase is
performed by sliding. The right foot slid on the plate
during hip extension (i.e. cross-country skiing) and

hip abduction (i.e. jumping jacks) with the complete


foot support out of the plate in the nal period of this
phase. Adductor hop (Figure 1E) and abductor hop
(Figure 1F) are characterised as exercises performed
with bipedal support, with a ight phase in which
both feet perform the jump. All of these exercises
were performed with no forward displacement, i.e.
in a stationary manner. In addition, the movement of
the upper limbs was similar in all of the exercises and
was performed only to provide balance during the
exercise. Since the study by Costa et al. (2011)
demonstrates that the limbs displacement was inuenced by the increments in the cadence, the range of
motion was controlled in the present study. An elastic band was xed in lateral supports to control the
range of movement, limiting it within the adequate
amplitude for the hip exion (stationary running = 90; frontal kick = 45; cross-country skiing = 60) and hip abduction (jumping jacks = 15;
adductor hop = 15; abductor hop = 15) during
each exercise.
The experimental protocol was divided into two
sets, the rst corresponding to the exercises performed in the sagittal plane and the second in the
frontal plane. The sets were performed with 15 days
apart so that the cardiorespiratory variables during
the maximal tests were measured in the same period
of the menstrual cycle. In addition, participants were

Figure 1. Initial and nal phase of the water aerobic exercises: (A) stationary running, (B) frontal kick, (C) cross-country skiing, (D)
jumping jacks, (E) adductor hop and (F) abductor hop.

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C. L. Alberton et al.

advised not to change their physical activity and


nutrition practices throughout this time.
To determine the cadences corresponding to the
rst ventilatory threshold (VT1) and the second ventilatory threshold (VT2) for each aerobic head-out
aquatic exercise, two sets of three sessions were performed randomly in the aquatic environment with
one incremental maximum test and a 48 h interval
between them. The cadences corresponding to these
ventilatory thresholds were chosen in order to measure the Fz at intensities that establish the training
zone predominantly aerobic. These results could be
helpful to select the most adequate exercises for the
aerobic head-out aquatic sessions with this purpose.
Each aquatic maximal test was conducted at an
initial cadence of 80 b min1 for 2 min, with
10 b min1 increases in cadence every minute
until maximum effort was obtained. This protocol
was based on the study of Alberton, Kanitz, et al.
(2013). The cadences were set by a digital metronome (MA-30, KORG, Tokyo, Japan). These tests
were performed between the 8th and 20th day after
the start of the last menstruation to control the hormonal period (Bemben, Salm, & Salm, 1995) and
were performed at the same time of day to avoid
variations related to circadian rhythms (Winget,
DeRoshia, & Holley, 1985).
To evaluate the ventilatory data, a mixing-boxtype portable gas analyser (VO2000, MedGraphics,
Ann Arbor, MI, USA) was used, and it had been
previously calibrated according to the manufacturers specications. The sampling rate of the collected values was 10 s, and the data were acquired
using the Aerograph software.
First and second ventilatory thresholds were determined using the rst and second break points in the
ventilation-by-intensity graph and conrmed using
the ventilatory equivalent slopes for oxygen
(VE/VO2) and carbon dioxide (VE/VCO2), respectively (Wasserman, Whipp, Koyal, & Beaver,
1973). Three experienced and independent physiologists determined the corresponding break points by
visual inspection in a blind procedure. The individual cadences corresponding to rst and second
ventilatory thresholds in each aquatic exercise
(Table I) were used during the experimental protocol for both environments.
To collect the Fz, the participants performed two
sessions in each environment, with a 48 h interval
between them. The experimental protocol began
with the measurement of the body weight (BW) on
dry land or apparent weight in the aquatic environment. Then, in each session, three exercises (sagittal
plane: stationary running, frontal kick and crosscountry skiing; frontal plane: adductor hop, abductor hop and jumping jacks) were performed randomly in each environment at the individual

Table I. Descriptive analysis of the cadences corresponding to the


rst ventilatory threshold (VT1) and second ventilatory threshold
(VT2) determined during the aquatic maximal tests.
Cadences (b min1)

Exercise
Stationary running
Frontal kick
Cross-country skiing
Jumping jacks
Adductor hop
Abductor hop

VT1

VT2

Mean s

Mean s

104.2
98.3
97.5
91.7
87.5
89.2

11.6
7.2
6.2
8.3
6.2
7.9

135.0
122.5
125.8
125.8
129.2
124.2

13.1
11.4
12.8
18.3
12.4
13.1

cadences corresponding to the rst ventilatory


threshold (cadence 1) or second ventilatory threshold (cadence 2). For each situation, 10 repetitions
were performed, with 5 min intervals between the
cadences and 15 min intervals between the exercises.
Both protocols were performed barefoot. The aquatic protocol was performed in a shallow swimming
pool (water temperature maintained at 32C) with a
depth between 0.95 and 1.30 m, allowing the participants to be immersed to the depth of the xiphoid
process. The dry land protocol was performed in an
enclosed room (temperature maintained at 26C)
with the exercise performance over a platform with
the surface identical to that used in the aquatic
environment.
The Fz corresponding to the right lower limb in
both environments was collected with a waterproof
force plate (OR6-WP, AMTI, Watertown, MA,
USA). It was checked that all participants had the
right limb as dominant. The force plate had been
previously calibrated according to the manufacturers specications. For Fz, the plates capacity
was 8900 N, and its sensitivity was 0.08 V/
[V N]. The sampling rate of the collected values
was 2000 Hz, and the data were acquired using
AMTIForce software. The digital signal was ltered
using a third-order low-pass Butterworth lter with a
cut-off frequency of 10 Hz. Based on the BW and
apparent weight, the percentage of apparent weight
reduction was calculated.
For each cycle, the peak Fz, the I and the contact
time (tc) during the support phase were veried. The
peak Fz was dened as the maximum value presented by the vertical ground reaction force, which
could occur at any time from the beginning until the
end of the cycle. These data were normalised by the
BW measured outside the water. The I was dened
as the area calculated by the integral of forcetime.
In addition, all cycles were normalised by time from
0% to 100%. Next, the three central valid repetitions
were averaged to obtain the mean cycle for each
participant in each situation. These curves were

Ground reaction force in aquatic exercises


interpolated, and the same process was repeated to
obtain the mean cycle among participants. The peak
Fz intra-subject variability, measured by the coefcient of variation (CV) obtained from the three repetitions in each condition, ranged from 0.1% to 16%
(stationary running: 0.45.5%; frontal kick: 0.3
4.2%; cross-country skiing: 0.88.3%; adductor
hop: 0.116.0%; abductor hop: 0.36.0%; jumping
jacks: 0.36.2%) in the aquatic environment and
from 0.3% to 6.1% (stationary running: 0.64.7%;
frontal kick: 0.34.3%; cross-country skiing: 0.7
6.1%; adductor hop: 0.62.8%; abductor hop: 0.7
5.5%; jumping jacks: 0.44.1) on dry land.

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2.3. Statistical analysis


Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the collected data, which were presented as the means s.
ShapiroWilks test was used to verify the normality
of the data. Repeated measures three-way analysis of
variance (ANOVA) (factors: exercise, cadence and
environment) and two-way ANOVA (factors:
cadence and environment) were used to analyse the
peak Fz and I values, respectively. When applicable,
Bonferronis post hoc tests were used. In addition,
when the interaction was signicant, the main factors
were tested again using the F test. An alpha level of
0.05 was adopted. The program SPSS version 19.0
(Chicago, IL, USA) was employed in the analysis.
3. Results
The mean apparent weight reduction was
68.6 4.3% of BW. According to the three-way
repeated measures ANOVA, the environment*exercise*cadence interaction was signicant (P < 0.001,

partial 2 = 0.351), showing that the peak Fz pattern


is dependent on the combination of these factors.
Similarly, the environment*exercise (P = 0.03, partial 2 = 0.193) and exercise*cadence (P < 0.001,
partial 2 = 0.371) interactions were also signicant.
However, the environment*cadence showed no signicant interaction (P > 0.05, partial 2 = 0.001).
Thus, the main factors were tested again using the
F test.
Regarding environment as the main factor
(P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.930), the peak Fz presented signicantly lower values in the aquatic environment compared to on dry land (Table II). In
addition, Figure 2 presents the forcetime curve for
the six exercises at the two cadences in both environments, representing the global pattern of the Fz
during all support phase. The descriptive analysis of
the contact time is presented in Table III.
The results for cadence as a main factor
(P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.949) showed signicantly
lower peak Fz values for cadence 1 compared to
cadence 2 for all exercises in the aquatic environment. In the dry land environment, it was observed
that the peak Fz at cadence 2 was signicantly
increased from cadence 1 for the stationary running,
frontal kick and cross-country skiing exercises.
However, no differences were found between the
cadences of the jumping jacks, adductor hop and
abductor hop exercises (Table II).
When analysing exercise as the main factor
(P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.661), we were able to
verify that frontal kick and stationary running presented signicantly greater peak Fz values in the
aquatic environment than jumping jacks and adductor hop at cadence 1; in addition, signicant differences were observed for the frontal kick compared to

Table II. Results of the peak vertical ground reaction force (Fzpeak) during different exercises performed in aquatic and dry land
environments at cadences corresponding to the rst ventilatory threshold (C1) and second ventilatory threshold (C2) determined during
the aquatic tests.
Fzpeak (BW)

Exercise
Stationary running
Frontal kick
Cross-country skiing
Jumping jacks
Adductor hop
Abductor hop

Cadence
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2

Aquatic environment

Dry land environment

Percentual reduction

Mean s

Mean s

0.88
1.10
0.92
1.13
0.72
0.88
0.63
0.75
0.51
0.77
0.72
0.94

0.26
0.25
0.20
0.19
0.14
0.14
0.20
0.18
0.12
0.19
0.21
0.30

1.47
1.97
1.45
1.83
1.32
1.53
1.12
1.35
1.23
1.15
1.33
1.31

0.18*
0.37*
0.13*
0.23*
0.10*
0.13*
0.21*
0.35*
0.31*
0.26*
0.30*
0.25*

40.14
44.16
36.55
38.25
45.45
42.48
43.75
44.44
58.54
33.04
45.86
28.24

Notes: *Indicates signicant differences between environments (P < 0.05). Indicates signicant differences between cadences (P < 0.05).
The Fzpeak is expressed in units of BW measured outside the water in both environments.

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C. L. Alberton et al.

Figure 2. Forcetime curve for the vertical component of ground reaction force (Fz) in aquatic and dry land environments during the
support phase of the different exercises performed at cadences corresponding to the rst ventilatory threshold (C1) and second ventilatory
threshold (C2) determined during the aquatic tests. The vertical axis indicates the Fz, which is expressed in units of BW measured outside
the water in both environments.

Table III. Descriptive analysis of the support phase contact time


(tc) in aquatic and dry land environments during different exercises performed at cadences corresponding to the rst ventilatory
threshold (C1) and second ventilatory threshold (C2) determined
during the aquatic tests.
tc (s)

Exercise
Stationary running
Frontal kick
Cross-country skiing
Jumping jacks
Adductor hop
Abductor hop

Cadence
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2

Aquatic
environment

Dry land
environment

Mean s

Mean s

0.60
0.27
0.39
0.26
0.32
0.24
0.39
0.29
0.88
0.42
0.82
0.44

0.70
0.05
0.06
0.05
0.05
0.05
0.09
0.08
0.14
0.13
0.21
0.14

0.63
0.42
0.64
0.47
0.50
0.37
0.49
0.37
1.18
0.71
1.10
0.67

0.13
0.10
0.11
0.05
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.43
0.09
0.31
0.12

the cross-country skiing, jumping jacks and adductor


hop exercises at cadence 2. For the dry land environment, exercise as the main factor showed that the
peak Fz was signicantly greater for frontal kick and

stationary running compared to jumping jacks exercise at cadence 1, while signicant differences were
observed between frontal kick and stationary running compared to cross-country skiing, jumping
jacks and adductor hop exercises at cadence 2.
According to the two-way repeated measures
ANOVA, the environment*cadence interaction was
signicant (stationary running: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.747; frontal kick: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.857; cross-country skiing: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.899; jumping jacks: P = 0.005, partial
2 = 0.558; adductor hop: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.954; abductor hop: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.893) for I, indicating that the slope pattern
of the I along the cadences is dependent on the
environment in which the exercise is performed.
Thus, the main factors were tested again using the
F test, and the results conrmed the main effects
previously found.
Considering environment as the main factor (stationary running: P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.983; frontal kick: P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.992; cross-country
skiing: P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.931; jumping jacks:
P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.974; adductor hop:
P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.989; abductor hop:
P < 0.001, partial 2 = 0.971), the I presented signicant differences between the aquatic and dry land

Ground reaction force in aquatic exercises

Table IV. Results of the impulse during different exercises performed in aquatic and dry land environments at cadences corresponding to
the rst ventilatory threshold (C1) and second ventilatory threshold (C2) determined during the aquatic tests.
Impulse (N s)

Exercise
Stationary running
Frontal kick
Cross-country skiing
Jumping jacks
Adductor hop

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Abductor hop

Cadence
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2
C1
C2

Aquatic environment

Dry land environment

Percentual reduction

Mean s

Mean s

105.54
79.55
112.1
97.57
66.42
55.45
64.78
50.72
109.19
93.82
134.82
111.96

20.8
16.13
28.95
22.51
27.29
18.48
16.42
19.77
21.44
20.28
44.76
27.75

325.15
253.57
343.57
269.84
243.76
184.1
194.22
152.34
382.98
259.23
385.39
282.77

41.42*
35.73*
52.15*
33.6*
67.69*
52.44*
27.05*
27.03*
42.1*
46.91*
61.89*
49.0*

67.54
68.61
67.37
63.83
72.76
69.85
66.63
66.71
71.49
63.81
65.02
60.40

Notes: *Indicates signicant differences between environments (P < 0.05). Indicates signicant differences between cadences (P < 0.05).

environments. When analysing cadence as the main


factor (stationary running: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.895; frontal kick: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.871; cross-country skiing: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.856; jumping jacks: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.779; adductor hop: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.954; abductor hop: P < 0.001, partial
2 = 0.858), signicant differences in the I values
were observed between the cadences for both environments, with higher values for cadence 1 compared
to cadence 2 for all exercises (Table IV).
4. Discussion
The main nding of the present study was that the
frontal kick exercise presented the greatest peak Fz
values (0.91.1 BW), while the jumping jacks and
adductor hop exercises achieved the lowest values
(0.50.8 BW) in the aquatic environment, which is
consistent with our hypothesis. In addition, signicant differences in the peak Fz and I were found
between the cadences in the aquatic environment
for all exercises. Furthermore, signicant differences
in the peak Fz and I were observed between the
environments for all exercises and intensities, with
percentual reductions from 28.2% to 58.5% for the
peak Fz and from 60.4% to 72.8% for the I in
accordance with our hypothesis.
4.1. Environment comparison
During the performance of the aerobic head-out
aquatic exercises, signicantly lower peak Fz and I
values were observed for the aquatic environment.
This lower global pattern of the Fz in the aquatic
environment during all support phases can be

observed in Figure 2. These results corroborate several previous studies that observed lower Fz
responses in immersion compared to dry land for
different exercises. Fz has been investigated over
the last two decades during shallow water walking
(Barela & Duarte, 2008; Barela et al., 2006;
Harrison et al., 1992; Miyoshi et al., 2004;
Nakazawa et al., 1994; Roesler et al., 2006), and
consensus emerged regarding lower Fz in water
compared to on dry land. Studies by Colado et al.
(2010) and Triplett et al. (2009) analysed the peak
Fz during jumps (two- and single-leg) and found
lower values in immersion, i.e. 55% and 45%
reductions, respectively, compared to a dry land
environment. In the present study, the adductor
hop and abductor hop exercises presented characteristics similar to those in jumps, and a reduction
ranging from 28.2% to 58.5% of the peak Fz values
found on dry land was observed in immersion.
These data corroborate the studies mentioned
above. Furthermore, a recent study by BritoFontana et al. (2012) investigated a specic aerobic
head-out aquatic exercise (i.e. stationary running)
and observed at the chest depth immersion a reduction of approximately 46.5% of the peak Fz values
obtained on dry land, at the cadences of 90, 110 and
130 b min1. In the present study, the stationary
running and frontal kick exercises, both performed
with the shared characteristics of single support and
ight phase, yielded a reduction in water from
36.6% to 44.2% of the values on dry land. In addition, the cross-country skiing and jumping jacks
exercises, both performed with the shared characteristics of sliding, evoked a reduction in the peak Fz in
the aquatic environment from 42.5% to 45.5%, corroborating the above-mentioned studies. This

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C. L. Alberton et al.

reduction in the Fz is due to the physical properties


of water as the immersed body is affected by the
buoyancy force, resulting in reduced apparent
weight in immersion. In the present study, a mean
apparent weight reduction was observed that corresponded to 68.6% of the BW at the depth of the
xiphoid process; this value is similar to those found
in previous studies (Harrison & Bulstrode, 1987;
Harrison et al., 1992). Consequently, the acceleration provided by the body when touching the plate
during head-out aquatic exercises is modied, resulting in reduced peak Fz and I values. It is important
to highlight that evidences suggest that up to 2 BW
the odds of muscle-skeletal injuries are low, from 2
to 4 BW are moderate and greater than 4 BW are
considered high (Hayes & Myers, 1997).
Notwithstanding, in spite of the low peak Fz values
observed in the aquatic environment (0.51
1.13 BW), corresponding to percentual reductions
around 42% from the values on dry land environment, caution is necessary while prescribing programmes in the water environment for people who
need to avoid this type of load because excessive
weekly volume and duration of the session contribute for a major muscle-skeletal injuries risk
(Wilder, Brennan, & Schotte, 1993). Moreover,
with regards to I, another point that deserves consideration is the low contact time in the aquatic
environment (Table III), which can contribute to
the impulse reduction in comparison to dry land.
Another aspect to be highlighted is the greater peak
Fz CV in the aquatic environment (1632%) compared to the dry land (826%). It is possible that this
greater variation during the head-out aquatic exercises to be explained by alteration in the technique of
execution between environments which could be
associated with the different contact time values
observed in each environment.
4.2. Intensity comparison
Another factor that exerts inuence on the Fz behaviour is the intensity of the exercises performed. In
the aquatic environment, the present study showed
signicant differences between cadence 1 and
cadence 2, with increases in peak Fz shown as
increases in intensity that correspond to the results
of previous studies (Brito-Fontana et al., 2012;
Haupenthal et al., 2013). The study by Haupenthal
et al. (2013) analysed Fz during water walking at two
velocities of motion (slow and fast) and at two
immersion depths (hip and chest). The authors
found lower values for the peak Fz at the low velocity
compared to the fast velocity for both immersion
depths. This pattern was also observed in the study
by Brito-Fontana et al. (2012), which analysed a
single aerobic head-out aquatic exercise, the

stationary running (which was also investigated in


the present study), performed at cadences of 90,
110 and 130 b min1. The authors veried that
the peak Fz increased as the cadence increased with
signicant differences in the lower compared to the
two higher cadences. The cadences used in this
study are very similar to the mean cadences corresponding to the rst and second ventilatory thresholds intensities found in the present study (see Table
I). Other issue that should be mentioned is the
greater peak Fz CV during the sagittal plane exercises (stationary running, frontal kick and crosscountry skiing) at cadence 1 (1930%) compared
to cadence 2 (1623%) in the aquatic environment.
This might be attributed to the fact that the increase
in the intensity from cadence 1 to cadence 2 reduces
the contact time and this could probably minimise
the technique variation during these exercises.
Cadences corresponding to the second ventilatory
thresholds, which ranged from 122.5 to
135.0 b min1 in the evaluated aquatic head-out
exercises, are more similar to the rhythms suggested
for aquatic head-out programmes (Kinder & See,
1992). Thus, the pattern of movement during these
cadences is probably more automated and probably
induces to lower variations in the technique of
execution when compared with cadences performed
in lower intensities (i.e. cadence 1 ranging from 87.5
to 104.2 b min1). The results concerning the
intensities found in the present study can be
explained by the principles of hydrodynamics. The
increase from cadence 1 to cadence 2 promotes an
increase in the velocity of motion when the same
exercise is performed within a controlled range of
motion; consequently, an increase in the acceleration
during the contact of the foot with the plate follows,
resulting in a greater Fz. In addition, with the
increased intensity, an increase in the Fz is observed
due to the requirement of a higher propulsive force
to overcome the drag force, displacing the body
(Haupenthal et al., 2013, 2010). On the other
hand, few studies found no signicant differences
in the Fz between intensities during the shallow
water walking (Miyoshi et al., 2004; Roesler et al.,
2006). Miyoshi et al. (2004) analysed the peak Fz
during shallow water walking performed at selfselected intensities corresponding to comfortable,
slower and faster speeds. Roesler et al. (2006) compared the peak Fz during shallow water walking
between
two
intensities
corresponding
to
40 b min1 and a fast velocity. The different patterns identied between the results of those two
studies and the present results could be due to the
different indicators of effort used in each approach.
It is possible that with self-selected intensities, used
in the above-mentioned studies, a signicant
increase in the velocity of motion and consequently

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Ground reaction force in aquatic exercises


in the peak Fz values does not occur (Alberton,
Tartaruga, et al., 2013). In contrast, the use of intensities related to ventilatory thresholds, which establish the training zone predominantly aerobic,
resulted in different cadences and provided distinct
peak Fz responses. Furthermore, the exercises investigated in the present study were stationary with
vertical displacement in contrast to water walking,
which entails horizontal displacement. The I values
presented antagonistic responses as the responses
decreased as the intensity of effort increased for all
exercises and environments. As the velocity of
motion increases, the contact time decreases (Table
III), exerting an inuence on the impulse. The
reduction in the contact time has been explained
previously (Haupenthal et al., 2013, 2010). These
authors observed an alteration in the mechanics of
the water walking with the increases in velocity and
concluded that, at greater intensities, the support
phase is propulsive, while the anteroposterior ground
reaction force is totally positive. In addition, the
reduced tc with the increase in intensity is associated
with greater peak Fz and lower I values, as shown in
activities such as running on dry land (Cappellini,
Ivanenko, Poppele, & Lacquantini, 2006).
In this situation, the reduction in I according to
the increased cadence can be associated with the
physiological intensity as proposed in the present
study. Cavagna, Mantovani, Willems, and Musch
(1997) established that if the contact time is shorter,
there is a greater recruitment of fast twitch bres
which, due to their less oxidative characteristics,
tend to pose a greater energy expenditure.
Moreover, with the increased cadence there is
increased water resistance to movement. According
to the equation of uids, the speed is squared and is
a major inuence in increasing water resistance
which brings with it greater muscle demand to overcome it, and therefore a higher energy expenditure
(Pugh, 1970, 1971).

4.3. Exercise comparison


Another important topic for discussion is the comparison of the exercises in the aquatic environment.
Based on the results of the present study, it can be
veried that frontal kick and stationary running tend
to present the greatest peak Fz values, while jumping
jacks and adductor hop present the lowest. Crosscountry skiing and abductor hop had intermediate
values. These results are related to the differences in
the performance characteristics among the different
exercises. The stationary running and frontal kick
exercises present greater peak Fz values due to
their characteristics as they are exercises performed
with a single support and a ight phase. During the

ight phase probably occurs a higher vertical displacement of the centre of mass, and consequently, this
entails in a higher acceleration during the support
phase, when all of the BW is carried by the support
leg. In the present study, a motion capture system
was not used, thus the kinematical parameters were
not assessed to conrm this issue. In contrast, crosscountry skiing and jumping jacks exercises are characterised as exercises performed with bipedal support, such that the change in the foot support phase
is performed by sliding on the plate during hip
extension (cross-country skiing) and hip abduction
(jumping jacks) until the phase with the foot out of
the plate is completed. Thus, possibly the range of
vertical oscillation of the centre of mass during these
exercises is very small compared to the others; these
factors could contribute to their lower peak Fz
values. Other issue to be highlighted is that when
the foot returned to the plate [hip exion (crosscountry skiing) and hip adduction (jumping jacks)],
it is possible that the participants limbs have not
slid, making the foot miss the contact with the plate
due to the change of surface of the ground (i.e.
rough). This result might be veried by the lower
contact time for cross-country skiing and jumping
jacks exercise compared to the others. On the other
hand, adductor hop and abductor hop are characterised by jumps with bipedal support, as well as a
ight phase, and their differences in the supportive
base (support phase with both feet) result in the
intermediate values for abductor hop and the lowest
values for adductor hop. Despite both of these exercises being characterised by jumps, they showed distinct patterns of peak Fz, most likely because
adductor hop is performed with a great support
base that favours cushioning during the hop-landing
phase.
Based on temporal analysis (Figure 2), it is possible to verify that the Fz pattern for stationary running and frontal kick exercises in the aquatic
environment is one single peak. Both exercises
were performed with stationary single-leg hop performed alternately, and these results are in accordance with the ndings by Colado et al. (2010)
that analysed the Fz during two-leg squat jump in
aquatic and on dry land environments. On the other
hand, the adductor hop and abductor hop exercises
showed a different pattern between cadences in the
aquatic environment. At cadence 1, it was found a
rst peak Fz, corresponding to the initial contact, a
valley, corresponding to the mid support, and a second peak, corresponding to the toe-off. In contrast,
at cadence 2 one single peak was veried due to an
alteration in the technique during the support phase
because the contact time was decreased in order to
maintain the rhythm of execution and the range of
movement.

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10

C. L. Alberton et al.

It is important to highlight that when the lower


limbs perform a movement with vertical displacement on the force plate, they displace a given
amount of water called as added water mass.
Because the added mass is accelerated due to the
transfer of kinetic energy from the body to the uid
environment, the Fz and the contact time values
could be overestimated. In the present study, we
did not mathematically correct this confounding
variable. Another possible limitation is related to
the fact that no computer support was used during
the determination of ventilatory thresholds.
Suggestions for future studies include the anteroposterior and mediolateral components of ground reaction force analysis because they could add important
ndings about balance during aquatic exercises performed in different planes of movement, along with
the vertical forces. In addition, other groups of participants (men, elderly, obese) could be investigated
to increase the external validity of the present study.

5. Conclusions
It can be concluded that ground reaction force peak
and impulse presented lower responses in the aquatic
environment compared to on dry land. However, it is
important to highlight that in spite of the peak of
vertical ground reaction force values (0.51
1.13 BW) during the aerobic head-out aquatic exercises being considered as low odds of muscle-skeletal
injuries (<2 BW), they should be considered while
prescribing programmes in the water environment for
people who need to avoid this type of load. Thus, if
the purpose of the exercise programme is to reduce
the vertical ground reaction forces, exercises with
characteristics similar to adductor hop and jumping
jacks and intensities corresponding to rst ventilatory
threshold should be prioritised in order to reach
values around 0.50.6 BW. Nevertheless, if the purpose is to maximise the vertical ground reaction
forces, exercises with characteristics similar to frontal
kick and stationary running and intensities corresponding to second ventilatory threshold should be
indicated in order to reach values until 1.1 BW.

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