Toma, K., & Hagerman, F. C. (2014). Effects of weight restriction on rowing performance among elite oarsmen. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 258.

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This study identified seasonal differences in physical and physiological characteristics and performance between heavyweight and lightweight rowers and the effects of weight reduction on the lightweight athletes. Among US Rowing National Team candidates, heavyweight (N = 7) and lightweight (N = 8) rowers underwent a simulated 2000-m rowing test during the off-season (December, 1997) and in-season (July, 1998). Weight and %body fat were measured before the test. Time-to-completion, VO2peak, and average power output were recorded during the test. Whole blood was collected five minutes after completion of the test for lactate concentration analysis. Mechanical efficiency was calculated from average power output and VO2peak.

Lightweights decreased body weight, %body fat, fat mass, and free fat mass in-season. In-season VO2peak/FFM increased in heavyweights while it decreased in lightweights. Multiple regression analysis showed no significant relationship between time-to-completion for the ergometer test and factors in heavyweight rowers, while body weight was negatively related to time-to-completion in lightweight rowers.

Implication. Although the use of indoor rowing machine is rare during in-season training, the negative effect of weight reduction on VO2peak/FFM and time-to-completion among lightweight rowers is significant.

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