Using the 20-Second and 60-Second Tests To Monitor Training and Predict 2,000-Meter Performance – By Joe DeLeo 

Can We Predict Maximal Oxygen Uptake Through an Incremental Ergometer Test – By Alex Wolf

Is High-Repetition Strength Training Important For Rowers – Dr. Frank Nugent

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Article Summaries

Cerasola, D., Zangla, D., Grima, J. N., Bellafiore, M., Cataldo, A., Traina, M., … & Bianco, A. (2022). Can the 20 and 60 s All-Out Test Predict the 2000 m Indoor Rowing Performance in Athletes? Frontiers in Physiology, 776.

Researchers had 17 Italian elite junior male rowers perform a 20-second, 60-second, and 2,000-meter rowing ergometer test. The goal was to test the hypothesis that the mean power in the 20-second and 60-second tests could predict 2,000-meter ergometer performance. The researchers found that the 20-second and 60-second tests explained 96.8% of the mean speed during the 2,000-meter ergometer test. Coaches and sport scientists can use these simple tests to monitor and track progress of their athletes throughout the year.

Jensen, K., Frydkjær, M., Jensen, N. M. B., Bannerholt, L. M., & Gam, S. (2021). A Maximal Rowing Ergometer Protocol to Predict Maximal Oxygen Uptake. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 16(3), 382–386. 7(4), 505-506.

This article explores a new maximal ergometry test that can measure maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and power measures. A total of 34 male Danish rowers, including club and elite rowers undertook 2 tests separated by 7 days. The first, a 2,000 time-trial, measuring average power over 2,000m (W2k) and the second an incremental submaximal (INCR) test consisting of 7 x 2-minute stages and measuring maximal power output (MPO). Both tests utilised VO2max laboratory testing. There was no significant difference in VO2max between the INCR and the time-trial. A very high correlation was found between W2k and VO2max, and MPO and VO2max. A regression equation was established to determine VO2max from W2k and MPO for the 2,000 m time-trial and the INCR respectively.  There was no observable difference between the predicted VO2max of the time-trial or INCR and the observed VO2max during the test. There is a very strong relationship between predicted and observed VO2max using the regression equation. This demonstrates the INCR can be a useful test to assess rowers’ physical development without having to repeatedly use expensive facilities and specialised expertise. This provides an opportunity for rowing coaches to use this test to inform decision-making around training and programming.

Nugent, F. J., Flanagan, E. P., Darragh, I., Daly, L., & Warrington, G. D. (2023). The Effects of High-Repetition Strength Training on Performance in Competitive Endurance Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Researchers recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of HRST on performance in endurance athletes. The researchers found 11 studies on HRST across a range of endurance sports – 3 studies were on rowers, 3 studies were on runners, 2 studies were on cyclists, 1 study was on cross-country skiers and 2 studies were on triathletes. The 11 studies ranged in duration from 4–12 weeks with a mean duration of 8 weeks. The findings suggest that HRST does not result in improved time trial performance or physiological performance when compared to a control group (i.e., a group that followed their normal training routine) or a LRST group. However, the results did appear similar to LRST. This suggests that HRST may be a useful training methodology early in the winter months (when rowing volume is still increasing), as an alternative to aerobic training, as a resistance training programme for juniors or novices and as a potential method to improve technique at high intensities. Despite this, rowers and coaches should be very cautious when incorporating HRST into their programme due to the high physiological and psychological demands which can lead to increased levels of fatigue during and after a session while also placing additional demands on resistance training technique.

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.