Rowers include strength training in their training cycles to enhance explosive power output. However, the effects of this type of training on rowing performance have until recently not been sufficiently investigated.
Gee with his colleagues (2011) have taken this issue into consideration and carried out a research to investigate the effects of a bout of strength training on 2000 m rowing ergometer performance.
For the results to be valid, eight highly trained male club rowers first performed baseline measures of
- static squat jumps (SSJ),
- countermovement jumps (CMJ),
- maximal rowing ergometer power strokes (PS) and
- a 2000 m rowing ergometer test (2000 m).
This was followed by high-intensity (in general, 7 exercises, 3-4 sets with 5 reps at 85% RM) strength training (ST). 2000 m test was repeated 24 and 48 hours after the ST. SSJ, CMJ and PS were performed 2, 24 and 48 hours after the ST. In addition, muscle soreness, creatine kinase (CK), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were assessed pre-ST and 2, 24 and 48 hours after the ST.
The results show a significant increase in muscle soreness (2 and 24 hours), CK (2, 24 and 48 hours) and LDH (2 hours) after the ST compared with the baseline values. All indicators that considered power (SSJ, CMJ, PS) had a significant decrease over time but 2000 m performance and all related indicators (heart rate, blood lactate) were not significantly affected.
What to learn from this?
A bout of high-intensity strength training results in muscle soreness and decrease in rowing-specific power for 48 hours, but does not affect performance on 2000 m rowing ergometer test. Taken this into consideration, coaches should not plan high-intensity strength trainings prior to sprint competitions but could do it with longer distances.
|Table. Changes in 2000 m rowing ergometer performance following high intensity strength training|
|Baseline||24 h||48 h|
|Completion time (min:s) (n = 8)||6:38.6 ± 11.9||6:40 ± 9.3||6:40 ± 9.1|
|Mean heart rate (b·min-1) (n = 8)||181 ± 8||179 ± 8||181 ± 9|
|Peak heart rate (b·min-1) (n = 8)||189 ± 8||188 ± 8||190 ± 8|
|Baseline blood lactate (mmol·L-1) (n = 6a)||1.5 ± 0.3||1.9 ± 0.7||1.9 ± 0.3*|
|Peak blood lactate (mmol·L-1) (n = 6a)||12.6 ± 1.7||13.2 ± 2.5||13.1 ± 3.2|
|Change in blood lactate (mmol·L-1) (n = 6a)||11.2 ± 1.5||11.4 ± 2.6||11.2 ± 3.2|
|Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation*Significantly different from baseline (P = 0.05)a Valid measurements could not be obtained from two of the participants|
|Gee et al. 2011|
Gee TI, French DN, Howatson G, Payton SJ, Berger NJ, Thompson KG. Does a bout of strength training affect 2,000 m rowing ergometer performance and rowing-specific maximal power 24 h later? European Journal of Applied Physiology 2011; 111: 2653–2662.