Using Statistical Parametric Mapping as a statistical method for more detailed insights in swimming: a systematic review

Jorge E. Morais*, Tiago M. Barbosa, Tomohiro Gonjo, Daniel A. Marinho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Swimming is a time-based sport and hence strongly dependent from velocity. Most studies about swimming refer to velocity as discrete variable, i.e., 0-D (no time dimension). However, it was argued that using swimming velocity as a continuous variable (1-D, with time dimension) with Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) can bring deeper and detailed insights about swimming performance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to perform a systematic review about the current body of knowledge of using Statistical Parametric Mapping in a swimming context. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were used to identify relevant articles. After screening, nine articles related to Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM) analysis in swimming were retained for synthesis. Results showed that four articles (44.4%) aimed to understand the kinematics, isokinetic joint torque or electromyographic (EMG) pattern of the swimmer’s shoulder either on land or during front crawl trials. Two articles (22.2%) focused on understanding the swimming velocity while performing the breaststroke stroke. One article (11.1%) analyzed the swimmers’ propulsion at front-crawl stroke, another one (11.1%) compared swimming velocity during a complete stroke cycle in young swimmers of both sexes as a discrete variable and as a continuous variable. Also, one article (11.1%) analyzed the underwater undulatory velocity. In an EMG context, some findings verified in SPM are not possible to be discovered with traditional 0-D statistical methods. Studies about swimming velocity (breaststroke, freestyle, and underwater undulatory velocity) and propulsion (front-crawl) also highlighted the SPM advantages in comparison to traditional statistical methods. By using SPM, researchers were able to verify specifically where within the stroke cycle significant differences were found. Therefore, coaches can get more detailed information to design specific training drills to overcome hypothetical handicaps.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1213151
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023


  • exercise
  • swimming
  • sensitive outputs
  • training
  • continuous analysis


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