Estimation of control strategies adopted by elite FES rowers

Green, Matthew; Andrews, Brian; Poulton, Adrian; Goodey, Simon and Gibbons, Robin (2008). Estimation of control strategies adopted by elite FES rowers. In: 17th International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology conference, 18-21 Jun 2008, Niagara Falls, Canada.


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) rowing was initially proposed as an alternative form of total body exercise for paraplegics in order to increase fitness and reduce mortality due to cardiovascular disease. It has developed to a stage where teams regularly compete in national and international indoor competitions, and FES sculling on water has been successfully demonstrated. The effectiveness of FES rowing as exercise is well established. The FES rowing cycle is performed by the coordination of voluntary upper body movements with FES generated movements of the rower's paralysed legs. While athletes have trained themselves to perform very effectively by developing rowing cycles through practice, until recently there has been little experimental data objectively detailing the control strategies they adopt. To address this, we have developed a data acquisition system to measure the many relevant variables and used it to study the performance of an elite FES rower (age 51yr, weight 70kg, injury level T4/ASIA A, time since injury 6yr, total FES rowing training 4yr), by phase plane analysis, the results of which we present here.

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