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Tracking the economy in rowing

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Tracking the economy is important as oxygen consumption levels off for athletes approximately at the age of 23-25 or after 5-7 years of training. Yet the economy and performance have been shown to …

Tracking the economy is important as oxygen consumption levels off for athletes approximately at the age of 23-25 or after 5-7 years of training. Yet the economy and performance have been shown to improve for much longer period – therefore correlations between performance and economy are even higher than correlations between performance and maximal oxygen consumption.

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  • 1.  Training planning and analysis tips  Rowing technique videos  Applicable bits of rowing research Jarek Mäestu Sports Scientist (PhD), Ex rower and rowing coach, Rowing Academy Scientist SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY TRACKING THE ECONOMY IN ROWING
  • 2. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Economy – what is it? Economy can be characterized as an energy demand for a given boat speed of submaximal rowing. In a simplified view, if the economy increases, the athlete uses less energy for particular intensity. Furthermore, the energy production shifts to higher contribution of lipids and oxidative pathways. Oxygen consumption levels off for athletes approximately at the age of 23-25 or after 5-7 years of training. Yet the economy and performance have been shown to improve for much longer period – therefore correlation between performance and economy is even higher than correlation between performance and maximal oxygen consumption. Figure 1. Relationship between rowing economy and VO2max
  • 3. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY How can economy be measured? Economy is traditionally measured in standard laboratory conditions using the measurement of oxygen consumption parameters, however it can also be done in the field conditions. If the oxygen consumption decreases for particular intensity (i.e. at anaerobic threshold), the economy of the athlete increases and this will positively affect rowing performance. Figure 2. Preparing the rowers for oxygen consumption field test. However, using the oxygen analyzer is relatively expensive and not very practical for long term testing.
  • 4. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY How can economy be measured? Another way to track economy is by measuring the blood lactate concentration. Lactate reflects the contribution of anaerobic energy pathways in energy production. Therefore, if less lactate is produced at a certain intensity, more aerobic energy is used and more anaerobic resources will be “spared” for higher intensities. The most reliable lactate testing should be done in the laboratory. However, the portable lactate analyzers are relatively reliable and easily obtainable, so coaches can collect data on water where the athletes are in their natural environment. 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 2008 2010 2011 2012 Lactate Heartrate Heart rate Lactate Figure 3. Decreases in lactate concentration at constant heart rate work intensity
  • 5. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Unfortunately not all coaches have the accessibility for VO2 testing or lactate measures. So, perhaps the most convinient method is the use of heart rate. It is not as precise as previous methods, but the trendlines can be easily seen if the athlete improves. In general, if the average heart rate for certain distance covered (with similar speed) decreases, one can assume the increase in economy. If the coach develops a certain test on the rowing ergometer (e.g. 10 km at 1:50 pace) the changes in economy can be tracked. Figure 4. Average heart rate (line) plotted against covered distance (columns) in male rower from the beginning of the preparatory period on the water. Sportlyzer Coaching Software How can economy be measured?
  • 6. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY If we divide speed by average heart rate, we can calculate how much distance can be covered in one heart beat. If the distance increases, so does the economy. Below is the sample of the same athlete and of the same period, but instead speed divided by average heart rate vs covered distance is used. Figure 5. Speed divided by average heart rate (line) plotted against the covered distance (columns) in male rower from the beginning of the preparatory period on the water. Sportlyzer Coaching Software In this case, a nice increase in economy can be tracked without additional testing. How can economy be measured?
  • 7. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY • Tracking the economy is important for monitoring the performance improvement in rowers. • Occasional testing for economy in the laboratory is highly suggested for high level rowers. • By using the speed divided by average heart rate value, coaches can monitor the changes in economy during the routine training process without any additional testing which is especially important for young rowers. However some issues must be taken into account: • The values are athlete specific – you can’t compare the values of one athlete to another. • Different disciplines (rowing, running, skiing) have different values even for one particular athlete. Things to remember
  • 8. SPORTLYZER ROWING ACADEMY Hey, before you go! Please Tweet, Like, +1 and share this presentation if you found it helpful or entertaining. Next slide: learn more about the Rowing Academy
  • 9. Sportlyzer Rowing Academy Sportlyzer Rowing Academy is No 1 source for rowing coaches looking for inspiration and ideas to: • make training plans more effective • plan and analyze athletes' progress better • learn from other coaches' experience Discover more • Economy of a 32-year-old Olympic gold medallist (case study) • Performance testing complexes (slideshow) • Incremental testing (slideshow) More related reading