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Physiol Res. 2015;64(2):203-7. Epub 2014 Oct 15.

Rowing increases stroke volume and cardiac output to a greater extent than cycling.

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Department of Physical Education, Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic; Cardiovascular Center, Department of Cardiology, Na Homolce Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic.


Exercise stimulates increases in heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV) and cardiac output (CO). These adaptive mechanisms are strongly dependent on the type of exercise. Both rowing and cycling are widely used for physical training worldwide; however, evidence regarding the differences in major hemodynamic parameters during rowing and cycling remains insufficient. Ten healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to perform either a rowing or cycling exercise. After 20 min rest, the group who had rowed first performed the cycling exercise and vice versa. Exercise was performed at a power-to-weight ratio of 2 W/kg for 2 min. HR, SV, CO and blood pressure (BP) were measured noninvasively using pulse-wave analysis at baseline and immediately after each exercise. HR, SV and CO were significantly higher after exercise than at rest. Whereas HR was comparable between rowing and cycling, SV and CO were significantly higher after rowing than after cycling. BP was comparable among all three measurements. Rowing increased SV and CO to a greater extent than cycling, whereas HR and BP were not influenced by the type of exercise. Our data suggest that rowing leads to more extensive stimulation of cardiac contractility and/or decreases in peripheral vascular resistance compared with cycling.

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