This study compared the effects of long slow distance training (LSD) with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in rowers. Nineteen well-trained rowers performed three tests before and after an 8-week training intervention: (1) 2000 m time trial; (2) seven-stage incremental step test to determine maximum oxygen uptake ([Formula: see text]O2max), power output at [Formula: see text]O2max (W[Formula: see text]O2max), peak power output (PPO), rowing economy and blood lactate indices and (3) seven-stroke power-output test to determine maximal power output (Wmax) and force (Fmax). After baseline testing, participants were randomly assigned either to a HIIT or LSD group. The LSD comprised 10 weekly aerobic sessions. The HIIT also comprised 10 weekly sessions: 8 aerobic and 2 HIIT. The HIIT sessions comprised 6-8 × 2.5 min intervals at 100% PPO with recovery time based on heart rate (HR) returning to 70% HRmax. Results demonstrated that the HIIT produced greater improvement in 2000 m time trial performance than the LSD (effect size (ES) = 0.25). Moreover, the HIIT produced greater improvements in [Formula: see text]O2max (ES = 0.95, P = 0.035) and power output at lactate threshold (WLT) (ES = 1.15, P = 0.008). Eight weeks of HIIT performed at 100% PPO is more effective than LSD in improving performance and aerobic characteristics in well-trained rowers.
Keywords: High-intensity interval training; VO2max; athletic performance; rowing.