Changes in stress and recovery after heavy training in rowers

J Sci Med Sport. 2004 Sep;7(3):335-9. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(04)80028-8.


In this study, the effect of rapidly increased training volume on performance, recovery-stress state and stress hormones over a six-day training camp were investigated in competitive male rowers (n=21). The training regimen consisted mainly of low-intensity on-water rowing and resistance training, in total 19.6+/-3.8 hrs, corresponding to approximately 100% increase in training load. Two thousand metre rowing ergometer performance time worsened by the end of a heavy training period. The resting blood testosterone decreased and cortisol remained unchanged. The Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes (RESTQ-Sport) revealed an increase in somatic components of stress (Fatigue, Somatic Complaints, Fitness/Injury) and a decrease in recovery factors (Success, Social Relaxation, Sleep Quality, Being in Shape, Self-Efficacy). Relationships were observed between training volume, and Fatigue (r=0.49), Somatic Complaints (r=0.50) and Sleep Quality (r=-0.58) at the end of heavy training. In addition, relationships were also observed between cortisol and Fatigue (r=0.48) at the end of heavy training as well as between changes in cortisol and changes in Fatigue (r=0.57) and Social Stress (r=0.51). In conclusion, changes in specific stress and recovery scales of the RESTQ-Sport for athletes and changes in stress hormone values indicated a state of heavy training stress and incomplete recovery at the end of a six-day heavy training period.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ergometry
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Somatoform Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Sports / psychology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone