Real-Time Feedback on Mechanical Power Output: Facilitating Crew Rowers’ Compliance With Prescribed Training Intensity

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Athletes require feedback in order to comply with prescribed training programs designed to optimize their performance. In rowing, current feedback parameters on intensity are inaccurate. Mechanical power output is a suitable objective measure for training intensity, but due to movement restrictions related to crew rowing, it is uncertain whether crew rowers are able to adjust their intensity based on power-output feedback. The authors examined whether rowers improve compliance with prescribed power-output targets when visual real-time feedback on power output is provided in addition to commonly used feedback. Methods: A total of 16 crew rowers rowed in 3 training sessions. During the first 2 sessions, they received commonly used feedback, followed by a session with additional power-output feedback. Targets were set by their coaches before the experiment. Compliance was operationalized as accuracy (absolute difference between target and delivered power output) and consistency (high- and low-frequency variations in delivered power output). Results: Multilevel analyses indicated that accuracy and low-frequency variations improved by, respectively, 65% (P > .001) and 32% (P = .024) when additional feedback was provided. Conclusion: Compliance with power-output targets improved when crew rowers received additional feedback on power output. Two additional observations were made during the study that highlighted the relevance of power-output feedback for practice: There was a marked discrepancy between the prescribed targets and the actually delivered power output by the rowers, and coaches had difficulties perceiving improvements in rowers’ compliance with power-output targets.

The authors are with the Dept of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Research Inst Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Hofmijster is also with the Center for Applied Research in Sports and Nutrition, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Lintmeijer (l.l.lintmeijer@vu.nl) is corresponding author.

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