Force production and symmetry in water fitness exercises: a gender comparison


  • Catarina C. Santos Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal; Research Center in Sport, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal;
  • Mário J. Costa Polytechnic Institute of Guarda; Research Center in Sport, Health and Human Development (CIDESD).
  • Raul Bartolomeu University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
  • Tiago M. Barbosa Department of Sport Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança; Research Center in Sport, Health and Human Development, CIDESD
  • Luís M. Rama University of Coimbra; Research Unit for Sport and Physical Activity (CIDAF).



aquatic exercise, propulsive force, isometric strength, cadence, sex


The aim of this study was to analyse and compare propulsive forces, relative force production and symmetry between genders during water fitness exercises. Eighteen participants (women, n= 9; age: 20.67 ± 0.87 years; body mass: 58.18 ± 4.97 kg; height: 159.19 ± 5.85 cm; and men, n= 9; age: 22.11 ± 1.76 years; body mass: 72.93 ± 7.00 kg; height: 170.83 ± 5.57 cm) underwent two incremental protocols performing horizontal adduction (HA) and the rocking horse (RHadd) exercises, from 105 to 150 bpm. Propulsive peak force of dominant (PFD) and non-dominant upper-limbs (PFND) was assessed by a differential pressure system. An isokinetic dynamometer was used to collect the dry-land isometric peak strength of the dominant upper-limb. Significant differences between genders were found for most of the music cadences in HA and RHadd. Men were able to produce higher propulsive force values for both upper-limbs during the overall incremental protocol, whereas women reached a higher relative force production. However, no significant diferences were found between both genders at the same music cadence. Most actions were asymmetric in women, whereas men showed a symmetric pattern. The cadence of 135 bpm elicits a symmetric motion in both genders while exercising water fitness exercises.

Keywords:aquatic exercise; propulsive force; isometric strength; cadence; sex






Original Article

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