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J Exerc Rehabil. 2018 Aug 24;14(4):612-620. doi: 10.12965/jer.1836254.127. eCollection 2018 Aug.

Training methods and analysis of races of a top level Paralympic swimming athlete.

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Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
CNR-SPIN, Physics Department University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
Department of Physiology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
Sport Department, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia.


Training methods for Paralympic swimmers must take into account different pathologies, competitions classes, athlete's individual circumstances and peculiar physical adaptation mechanisms, hence general guidelines cannot be found in literature. In this study we present a training program, implemented for the physical preparation of a top level Paralympic swimmer. The athlete under study, affected by infantile cerebral palsy within a clinical picture of a spastic tetraparesis, by the end of 2016 was holder of Italian, European, world and Paralympic titles in the 400-m freestyle competition, S6 class. The training macrocycle was structured in a 3-fold periodization (three mesocycles), in view of the preparation to three international competitions. The 4-month training mesocycles prior to each competition differed substantially in terms of mileage load, intensity and recovery times. The first mesocycle was characterized by a sizeable low-intensity mileage load, the second one was shifted to lower mileage load, carried out at middle-to-high intensity levels, the third one entailed increased effort intensity, counterbalanced by lower mileage load. In all cases, recovery times were balanced to obtain optimized performance through physical adaptation to training stimuli, keeping into account the physiopatological response. Tapering phases were adjusted to maximize performance at competition. As an assessment of the effectiveness of the training method, correspondence between chronometric and technical parameters in the three competitions and the respective mesocycle training programs was found. The results of the present study may support the development of training guidelines for athletes affected by upper motor neuron lesions.


Anaerobic threshold; Cerebral palsy spastic; Lactic acid; Physical training human; Physiopathological adaptation; Sports for the disabled

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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