Polarized vs. Pyramidal Intensity Distribution: Will Ruth

Movement Screening for Rowers: Blake Gourley

Heavy Resistance Training vs. Strength Endurance Training: Joe DeLeo

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Eleven-week preparation involving polarized intensity distribution is not superior to pyramidal distribution in national elite rowers. Treff, G., Winkert, K., Sareban, M., Steinacker, J., Becker, M., & Sperlich, B. (2017). Frontiers In Physiology, 8.

Researchers studied 14 male rowers on the German National Team and found that an 11-week polarized or pyramidal training plan both improved 2km erg performance by approximately two seconds. While polarized training is often held up as a gold standard of endurance training, this study suggests that both approaches can be equally effective. In this article, we’ll explore the two different training plan systems, the findings and faults of this research piece, and how you can put the training to the test for yourself.

Association between rowing injuries and the functional movement screen in female collegiate division I rowers. Clay, H., Mansell, J., Tierney, R. (2016). The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 11(3).

Researchers studied 45 female division I rowers using a Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS™) to understand the relationship between movement quality, back pain, and injury incidence over one rowing season. Rowers with worse movement quality experienced more back pain, and researchers noted a trend for higher injury occurrence. These findings support the use of the FMS™ to identify risk factors for back pain and injuries in rowers. Rowers and coaches can use this information to incorporate proactive measures into their individual or team practice.

Effects of equal volume heavy-resistance strength training versus strength endurance training on physical fitness and sport-specific performance in young elite female rowers. Thiele, D., Prieske, O., Lesinski, M., Granacher, U. (2020). Frontiers in Physiology, 11.

Researchers studied 26 elite female junior rowers over a nine-week training intervention. The purpose of this study was to determine the more effective strength training method for a rower: heavy weight and low repetition or moderate weight and high repetition? Researchers distributed rowers into two matched-volume groups: heavy resistance strength training (HRST) and strength endurance training (SET). The researchers found that the HRST showed larger gains in maximal strength and muscle power, while SET improved speed in a 700-meter rowing ergometer trial. There are benefits to both methods and rowers will want to utilize both HRST and SET in their training to maximize performance and overall development.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-strength coaches, Will Ruth, Blake, Gourley, and Joe DeLeo. Our goal is to move research into practice for coaches and rowers of all ages, types, and levels. We are entirely member-funded and do not promote products or sell advertisements. Members receive one issue each month containing three reviews of recent and applicable research in rowing training, strength training for rowing, and other relevant performance areas like psychology, injury analysis, technology, and more. Each issue includes video and graphic content to help move the knowledge into practice, as well as a podcast episode of the three of us discussing the takeaways and our experiences. Membership includes access to all prior issues, so join us for one month and get access to every issue. We also offer discounted annual and team memberships, as well as gift memberships for a special rower or coach in your life.