The economy of rowing at selected stroke rates on a Concept II Indoor Rowing Ergometer
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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In cycling, the affect of cadence on oxygen consumption (VO2) has been widely studied. However, in rowing, research is scant. This investigation therefore aimed to establish whether stroke rate affected the economy of rowing. Male (n = 6) and female (n = 2) club level rowers (Mean SD: Age: 22.1 3.4 yrs; Height: 178.1 7.9 cm; Mass: 74.3 10.3 kg; VO2max: 4.2 0.7 Lmin-1) volunteered to undertake an incremental test on a concept II rowing ergometer to establish VO2max. Subjects then returned and performed three four-minute bouts of rowing, at 70% of VO2max at a self-selected stroke rate (18.6 1.5 smin-1), 20% higher than self-selected stroke rate (22.3 1.5 smin-1) and 20% lower than self-selected stroke rate (15.0 1.3 smin-1). Measurements of VO2, VCO2, R value and VE were collected and heart rate (HR) recorded for both tests. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was also collected for the second test. A change in stroke rate did not affect economy (P = .074). HR was significantly different (P = .001) and was lowest at self-selected stroke rate. RPE was statistically different (P = .007), with lowest values found for self-selected stroke rate. Stroke rate did not significantly affect economy, however this could be due to the small variation in stroke rates used in the study. A change in stroke rate affects HR more than VO2. This could lead to difficulties in training prescription, as a change in stroke rate would lead to a change in HR but not necessarily VO2. Rowers should choose a stroke rate they perceive to be easiest. Further investigation is required to establish whether economy is affected by a lager variation of stroke rate, and whether this is important in rowing.
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