INFLUENCE OF ROLLING RESISTANCE ON SPEED PERFORMANCE IN WHEELCHAIR RUGBY, REGARDLESS OF FUNCTIONAL CLASSIFICATION

ABSTRACT Our objective was to verify the associations between speed performance and wheelchair rolling resistance (RRES) in paralympic rugby athletes. Thus, 16 athletes were evaluated at the training sites of the teams. Weights of subjects and wheelchairs were collected, RRES was evaluated by a field procedure and a speed by the 20-meter sprint test. Data were analyzed using Pearson's correlation procedure, partial correlation and simple linear regression. The results showed that there is a negative and significant correlation between RRES, 20-meter sprint test (r = -.825, p <.001, R2 = .680, p <.001), and 20-meter propulsive power (r= .960, p <.001, R2 = .922, p <.001). After controlling for the functional classification and the age of the athletes, it was verified that RRES remained negatively correlated with speed performance (r = -.790, p = .001, R2 = .624), and positively with 20-meter propulsive power (r = .963, p <.001, R2 = .928). It is concluded that an RRES can be an important element for the control of wheelchair-free speed performance, regardless of the functional class and age of the athlete.