Determinants of 2,000 m rowing ergometer performance in elite rowers

S A Ingham, G P Whyte, K Jones, A M Nevill
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2002, 88 (3): 243-6
This study examined the physiological determinants of performance during rowing over 2,000 m on an ergometer in finalists from World Championship rowing or sculling competitions from all categories of competion rowing (19 male and 13 female heavyweight, 4 male and 5 female lightweight). Discontinuous incremental rowing to exhaustion established the blood lactate threshold, maximum oxygen consumption (VO(2max)) and power at VO(2max); five maximal strokes assessed maximal force, maximal power and stroke length. These results were compared to maximal speed during a 2,000 m ergometer time trial. The strongest correlations were for power at VO(2max), maximal power and maximal force (r=0.95; P<0.001). Correlations were also observed for VO(2max) (r=0.88, P<0.001) and oxygen consumption (VO(2)) at the blood lactate threshold (r=0.87, P=0.001). The physiological variables were included in a stepwise regression analysis to predict performance speed (metres per second). The resultant model included power at VO(2max), VO(2) at the blood lactate threshold, power at the 4 mmol x l(-1) concentration of blood lactate and maximal power which together explained 98% of the variance in the rowing performance over 2,000 m on an ergometer. The model was validated in 18 elite rowers, producing limits of agreement from -0.006 to 0.098 m x s(-1) for speed of rowing over 2,000 m on the ergometer, equivalent to times of -1.5 to 6.9 s (-0.41% to 1.85%). Together, power at VO(2max), VO(2) at the blood lactate threshold, power at 4 mmol x l(-1) blood lactate concentration and maximal power could be used to predict rowing performance.

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