Trends in Strength and Conditioning Practices in Elite Rowing

Mindith Rahmat


Women's Fitness, Yoga, Bodyweight Exercise, Kettlebells


Rowing for sport is becoming more popular worldwide. Whether rowing on water or on an indoor ergometer, rowing can be an extremely demanding endurance sport. Rowing utilizes different energy systems including aerobic and anaerobic, but also uses muscular strength and power for optimal performance. To date there is little peer reviewed research published on trends in strength and conditioning practices with elite rowers.


Trends in Strength and Conditioning Practices in Elite Rowing - Fitness, elite athletes, strength and conditioning, rowingNew research from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reviews common strength and conditioning protocols currently in use by elite rowing coaches in the U.K. Researchers surveyed and assessed coaches regarding specific programming design including; physical testing and assessments, strength and power development, flexibility development and and recovery, and much more.



Researchers revealed that 94% of coaches conducted some sort of testing or assessment on an athletes's cardiovascular endurance, muscular power, muscular strength, and anaerobic capacity. All coaches agreed that strength training within the programming design did enhance rowing performance, with 74% of coaches prescribing strength training 2-3 times per week. Olympic Weightlifting compromised 81% of the strength training with 91% of coaches used a periodization model. The clean and squat were the most frequently reported weightlifting exercises utilized by elite rowers.


Static stretching was prescribed by all the coaches surveyed; however, dynamic stretching was found to be more frequently practiced than PNF stretching (or proprioceptive muscular facilitation). Most coaches had a tendency to recommend the 24 hr recovery protocol between strength training and rowing.


Future research should examine sports specific programming protocols of a larger population of coaches examining various aspects of competition, rowing performance, and max efforts.

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