Volume 1, Issue 2 (October, 2020)

Blood Flow Restriction Training: Will Ruth

The Effects of Focus on Rowers: Blake Gourley

The Effects of Caffeine on Rowing Performance: Joe DeLeo

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Low intensity rowing with blood flow restriction over 5 weeks increases VO2 max in elite rowers: A randomized control trial. Held, S., Behringer, M., & Donath, L. (2020). Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 23.

Researchers studied 31 elite rowers from the German National Team (23 men, 8 women) using a blood flow restriction (BFR) intervention. Rowers used BFR during low-intensity erging and rowing training for just five total hours over a five-week training cycle, in addition to the rest of their training. The BFR group significantly improved VO2 max and power at VO2 max, while controls performing identical training without BFR made small, non-significant improvements. This research review explores practical applications of BFR in erging, rowing, and strength training.

Don’t think about your movements: Effects of attentional instructions on rowing performance. Schucker, L., Jedamski, J., Hagermann, N., & Vater, H. (2015). International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 10(5).

Researchers steered rowers’ focus with three different sets of instructions and found several physiological changes that may impact rowing performance. The internal instructions focused on the body, the external instructions focused on a simulated rowing video, and the control instructions only focused on maintaining the appropriate intensity. The internal instructions negatively impacted all four variables; heart rate, blood lactate, rate of perceived exertion, and sub-maximal VO2. By simply focusing on aspects of our body instead of our environment or the sport task, all four variables changed for the worse. Where we focus our attention as rowers and where we direct attention as coaches may influence our physiology, efficiency, and technical abilities.

Improvement of 2000-m rowing performance with caffeinated carbohydrate-gel ingestion. Scott, A., O’Leary, T., Walker, S., Owen, R., (2015). International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 10(4).

Researchers compared 13 male athletes in three 2,000-meter time trials on ergometers with the resistance set to 10/10. One trial was a familiarization test to achieve a baseline. In subsequent tests, athletes consumed a gel 10 minutes prior to beginning, either a carbohydrate-only gel or a gel containing carbohydrates and 100mg of caffeine. Participants performed an average of 5.2 seconds better after taking the carbohydrate-and-caffeine gel. Rowers and coaches can use this information to improve their race prep nutrition and supplement strategies.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-strength coaches, Will Ruth, Blake, Gourley, and Joe DeLeo. Our goal is to move research into practice for coaches and rowers of all ages, types, and levels. We are entirely member-funded and do not promote products or sell advertisements. Members receive one issue each month containing three reviews of recent and applicable research in rowing training, strength training for rowing, and other relevant performance areas like psychology, injury analysis, technology, and more. Each issue includes video and graphic content to help move the knowledge into practice, as well as a podcast episode of the three of us discussing the takeaways and our experiences. Membership includes access to all prior issues, so join us for one month and get access to every issue. We also offer discounted annual and team memberships, as well as gift memberships for a special rower or coach in your life.

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