Fin swimming improves respiratory gas exchange.

  • Jammes Y.
  • Coulange M.
  • Delliaux S.
  • Jammes C.
  • Gole Y.
  • Boussuges A.
  • Brerro-Saby C.
  • Ba A.
  • Marqueste Tanguy
  • Adjriou N.


Data in the literature suggest that compared to dry-land exercise fin swimming might delay the activation of the anaerobic metabolism. To verify this hypothesis, we explored indirect indices such as the oxygen pulse (VO(2)/HR), carbon dioxide production (VCO(2)), and ventilatory threshold, comparing fin swimming exercise to dry-land cycling. Thirteen participants, experienced or inexperienced in fin swimming, completed an incremental fin swimming exercise and a maximal exercise on a cycloergometer with breath-by-breath measurements of heart rate (HR), ventilation (VE), tidal volume (VT), VO(2), VCO(2), and VO(2)/HR and determination of the ventilatory threshold and maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2)max). Compared to dry-land cycling exercise, fin swimming resulted in elevated or absent ventilatory threshold. Although VO(2)max did not differ in either condition, in fin swimming the maximal HR value was lower (-18%, p=0.0072), maximal VO(2)/HR higher (+20%, p=0.0325), and maximal VCO(2) lower (-17%, p=0.0071). We also measured significant reduction of VE, VT, and HR variations for the same VO(2) increase. This study suggests that the anaerobic muscle metabolism might be delayed in fin swimming. An attenuated chemoreflex drive to the heart and respiratory centres exerted by muscle metabolites might explain the depressed cardiopulmonary response to fin swimming.