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Int J Sports Med. 2013 Feb;34(2):131-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1321721. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Effects of stroke resistance on rowing economy in club rowers post-season.

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  • 1Human Kinetics, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada.


In the sport of rowing, increasing the impulse applied to the oar handle during the stroke can result in greater boat velocities; this may be facilitated by increasing the surface area of the oar blade and/or increasing the length of the oars. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of different rowing resistances on the physiological response to rowing. 5 male and 7 female club rowers completed progressive, incremental exercise tests on an air-braked rowing ergometer, using either low (LO; 100) or high (HI; 150) resistance (values are according to the adjustable "drag factor" setting on the ergometer). Expired air, blood lactate concentration, heart rate, rowing cadence, and ergometer power output were monitored during the tests. LO rowing elicited significantly greater cadences (P<0.01) and heart rates (P<0.05), whereas rowing economy (J · L O(2) equivalents(-1)) was significantly greater during HI rowing (P<0.05). These results suggest that economically, rowing with a greater resistance may be advantageous for performance. Moreover, biomechanical analysis of ergometer rowing support the notion that the impulse generated during the stroke increases positively as a function of rowing resistance. We conclude that an aerobic advantage associated with greater resistance parallels the empirical trend toward larger oar blades in competitive rowing. This may be explained by a greater stroke impulse at the higher resistance.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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