Open Access
Arnold, John
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Anthony Pawelczyk, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mary Jane De Souza, Honors Advisor
  • Performance Model
  • Rowing
  • Critical Power
  • Performance Determinants
  • Performance Score
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Seasonal Changes
  • Systematic Review
Introduction:Despite a long history of performance testing and modeling, no study has examined the use of performance models over a season. We hypothesize that current performance models of rowing would be incapable of seasonal use and, instead, act as a “snapshot” of performance. A model able to remain valid over the season could allow coaches to better track and modify training and optimize the performance outcomes of athletes.However, previous testing protocols present barriers to implementation since they are often invasive and time-intensive.In response, we identified key factors associated with performance and seasonal variation using systematic review, reviewed testing protocols that characterize the desired physiological performance determinants in a non-invasive and time efficient manner, and proposed rubrics to validate the proposed model and testing scheme.Systematic Review:We conducted two systematic reviews. Our first review asked: Which physiological performance determinants are best able to predict performance? We found that performance could be best predicted when anaerobic capacity, aerobic power, sustainable power/fatigue threshold, and mechanical power were included. Our second review asked:How do physiological changes over a season impact rowing performance? Due to a small amount of studies, the question was expanded to include cycling. The quality of evidence found in our second review was low due to inconsistencies across studies, imprecision, and bias since many studies examined only one physiological performance determinant. Proposed Model:We created our model with the following goals: 1) remain valid throughout a season; 2) account for physiological changes which affect performance;3) utilize the least invasive means possible to increase ease of implementation and frequency of assessment; 4) useful to coaches to make training and grouping decisions; and, 5) valid for rowers regardless of age, skill, gender, and weight class. Performance determinants were selected to represent the four areas found in our review (anaerobic capacity, aerobic power, sustainable power/fatigue threshold, and mechanical power) associated with high predictive value. These included maximal aerobic power (VO2max)ventilator threshold (VT), power at VO2max, power at VT, max power, critical power(CP), and anaerobic work capacity (W’). All performance determinants could be assessed non-invasively using two tests, which could be administered in approximately 45 minutes over two days. Implementation Plan:We present an implementation plan spanning several seasons that would focus on validating the proposed model in the first season and developing a performance “score” with normative values in subsequent seasons to track individual and team changes in physiological status.Summary:The model, methods and plan that we have proposed advance performance testing in rowing from theory to practice, encapsulating the physiological determinants of performance.