The Effect of Off-Training Activity on Rowing Performance – By Will Ruth

The Power of Pacing – By Blake Gourley

Inspiratory Muscle Training Improves 2,000-Meter Rowing Performance – By Joe DeLeo

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Article Summaries

Treff, G., Leppich, R., Winkert, K., Steinacker, J., Mayer, B., & Sperlich, B. (2021). The integration of training and off-training activities substantially alters training volume and load analysis in elite rowers. Scientific Reports, 11.

Six male and two female elite rowers wore heart rate monitors during all waking hours of an entire training year to quantify training zone intensity distribution and the amount of off-training physical activity. From a total of 1,425 athlete days of training, the researchers found that athletes did an average of two hours per week of off-training activity at or above 60% heart rate max, but that this training had no significant influence on training outcomes or rowing performance. Rowers and coaches can consider the results of this study to improve zone-based aerobic training recommendations.

Hoffmann, C., Filippeschi, A., Ruffaldi, E., Bardy, B.  (2014). Energy management using virtual reality improves 2000-m rowing performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(6).

Researchers had 15 males, all non-rowers, participate in two groups. One group received live feedback that encouraged an ideal pacing strategy via a virtual pace boat, while the other group received no pacing feedback. After eight training sessions, the group that received live feedback improved their 2K performance, learned how to effectively pace themselves, retained their pacing strategy 30 days later, and closely replicated this pacing strategy in a 2.5K race 60 days later. Coaches and rowers should incorporate different strategies to develop pacing skills as pacing alone can impact rowing performance. 

Riganas, C., Papadopoulou, Z., Margaritelis, N., Christoulas, K. & Vrabas, I. (2019). Inspiratory muscle training effects on oxygen saturation and performance in hypoxemic rowers: Effect of sex. Journal of Sports Sciences,37(22).

Thirty-six male and female rowers experiencing low levels of oxygen in their blood during exercise underwent six weeks of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) using the Powerbreathe device. The researchers found that the IMT female group had significantly greater performance in the 2,000-meter ergometer time trial and an all-out five-minute test. Both the male and female IMT groups significantly improved respiratory muscle strength. The female rowers also had greater amounts of oxygen available in their blood. Coaches and rowers can use the results of this study to improve rowing performance by improving inspiratory muscle endurance.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-and-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.