, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 243-246

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

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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 (V˙O2max) and power at V˙O2max; 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 V˙O2max, maximal power and maximal force (r=0.95; P<0.001). Correlations were also observed for V˙O2max (r=0.88, P<0.001) and oxygen consumption (V˙O2) 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 V˙O2max, V˙O2 at the blood lactate threshold, power at the 4 mmol·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·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 V˙O2max, V˙O2 at the blood lactate threshold, power at 4 mmol·l–1 blood lactate concentration and maximal power could be used to predict rowing performance.