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% < or = lactate threshold (LT) training (LOW) or 70% training at < or = LT and 30% at halfway (50%Delta) 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%Delta; 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.