Comparison of Heart Rate Response to Tennis Activity Between Persons With and Without Spinal Cord Injuries: Implications for a Training Threshold

Authors: Barfield, J. P.; Malone, Laurie A.; Coleman, Tristica A.

Source: Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1 March 2009, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 71-77(7)


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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) to reach a training threshold during on-court sport activity. Monitors collected heart rate (HR) data every 5 s for 11 wheelchair tennis players (WCT) with low paraplegia and 11 able-bodied controls matched on experience and skill level (ABT). Average HR was determined for time spent in practice (e.g., drills) and game (i.e., a competitive set), and the ability to surpass 50% peak HR (HRpeak) and 64% HRpeak in each condition was evaluated. Average exercise intensity (%HRpeak) was not significantly different between the groups during practice (M WCT = 68.18, SD = 7.53%, M ABT = 68.78, SD = 5.44%; t = .22, p = .83) or game (M WCT = 68.17, SD = .17%, M ABT = 71.55, SD = 4.75%; t = 1.12, p = .28). All participants averaged an intensity ≥ 50% HRpeak during practice and game, and the difference between group participants averaging an intensity ≥ 64% HRpeak was not significant during practice (2 = .92, p = .34) or game (2 = 3.85, p = .05). In terms of reaching a health and fitness training threshold during tennis, individuals with low-level SCI are similar to matched controls.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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