Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


In Olympic sailing, the "hiking" position is adopted by sailors to counteract forces of the wind acting on the sail and. improve boat speed. Hiking is widely regarded as the main physical challenge faced by single-handed dinghy sailors and senior dinghy sailors are known to have high rates of low back and knee injury. However, the extent of these injuries in junior sailors is yet to be reported. Although strength and conditioning exercises have been prescribed to enhance performance and prevent injury in sailors, little is known about these exercises in comparison to the demands placed on the sailor's musculature whilst hiking maximally. Therefore, the first aim of this study was to determine the incidence of back and knee pain in a group of 29 male and female sailors from the Singaporean National Byte Class training squad (n=12) and the Singapore High Participation Group (n=17). Utilising this group of participants, the second aim of the study was to compare the levels of muscle (EMG) activation in four muscle bilaterally (rectus abdominus, superficial lumbar multifidus, vastus lateralis, and biceps femoris) in selected strength and conditioning exercises (leg extension, back squat, back extension, 30 second isometric hiking hold) and a three-minute maximal hiking test performed on a hiking simulator (called the HM180). In the first part of this study, there was a low incidence of low back pain and knee pain (14.8% and 31% respectively). Results from the second part of this study indicated that both the leg extension and back squat are capable of providing an overload stimulus for the HM180 test. However, higher than expected activation of the lumbar multifidus during the back squat exercise suggests that the leg extension exercise is an appropriate exercise for development. of quadriceps strength whilst squatting technique is refined. When comparing the level of muscle activation in the strength and conditioning exercises to the HM180 test, it was evident that the level of muscle activation was greater for; 1) the superficial lumbar multifidus in the back extension exercise, 2) the rectus abominus in the hiking hold exercise, and 3) the vastus lateralis muscle in the back squat and leg extension exercises. Between-ability group and between-gender comparisons for the HM18o test revealed that significant differences existed (p=0.002 and p=0.027 respectively). Findings from this study which examined a developmental sailing cohort has the potential to inform practical decision making in everyday exercise prescription.