Physiological and Performance Effects of Low- versus Mixed-Intensity Rowing Training

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Purpose:To examine the impact of low-intensity and a mixture of low- and high-intensity training on physiological and performance responses in rowing.Methods:Eighteen experienced rowers undertook a 12-wk program of 100% ≤ lactate threshold (LT) training (LOW) or 70% training at ≤ LT and 30% at halfway (50%Δ) between the V˙O2 at LT and V˙O2peak (MIX). Responses were assessed before and after training by a progressive exercise test to exhaustion; multiple "square-wave" rest-to-exercise transitions of 6-min duration at 50%Δ; and a maximal 2000-m ergometer time trial.Results:Improvements (P < 0.001) in 2000-m ergometer performance and V˙O2peak occurred independently of groups (P = 0.8 and 0.42, respectively). LOW improved the power at LT (23.5 ± 12.2 vs 5.1 ± 5.0 W, P = 0.013) and power at a [blood lactate] of 4 mM (32.3 ± 6.9 vs 13.1 ± 3.7 W, P = 0.03) compared with MIX. The time constant and gain of the primary component were unchanged with training, whereas the gain of the V˙O2 slow component was reduced with training, but independently of group.Conclusions:Both LOW and MIX training programs improved performance and V˙O2peak by the same magnitude, whereas LOW attenuated the blood lactate response to a given exercise intensity more so than MIX.

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