Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport


Performance Health

Wheelchair on laboratory treadmill

Ergonomics of wheelchair configuration for optimum sports performance

Manual wheelchair propulsion is affected by the physical characteristics of the user, the wheelchair and the interaction between the two.

With regards to the user, different pushing strategies and techniques are adopted to suit the requirements of the task. Many of these factors can be affected by the configuration of the wheelchair.

This research programme is designed to firstly help further understand the possible underlying mechanisms of the low efficiencies in manual wheelchair propulsion and secondly to determine the effects of different wheelchair configurations on performance. 


  • Wheelchair camber and wheeling performance
  • Wheelchair wheel size and wheeling performance
  • Hand-rim forces in asynchronous and synchronous wheelchair propulsion
  • Handcycle configuration for optimal performance   
Research team

Professor Vicky Tolfrey, Dr Barry Mason, Ben Stone

External collaborators

Professor Lucas van der Woude (Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen) and Professor Neil Fowler (Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr John Lenton (British Cycling).


UK Sport.