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Peter Peeling, Martyn J. Binnie, Paul S.R. Goods, Marc Sim, and Louise M. Burke

A strong foundation in physical conditioning and sport-specific experience, in addition to a bespoke and periodized training and nutrition program, are essential for athlete development. Once these underpinning factors are accounted for, and the athlete reaches a training maturity and competition level where marginal gains determine success, a role may exist for the use of evidence-based performance supplements. However, it is important that any decisions surrounding performance supplements are made in consideration of robust information that suggests the use of a product is safe, legal, and effective. The following review focuses on the current evidence-base for a number of common (and emerging) performance supplements used in sport. The supplements discussed here are separated into three categories based on the level of evidence supporting their use for enhancing sports performance: (1) established (caffeine, creatine, nitrate, beta-alanine, bicarbonate); (2) equivocal (citrate, phosphate, carnitine); and (3) developing. Within each section, the relevant performance type, the potential mechanisms of action, and the most common protocols used in the supplement dosing schedule are summarized.

Open access

Daniel J. Astridge, Peter Peeling, Paul S.R. Goods, Olivier Girard, Jamie Hewlett, Anthony J. Rice, and Martyn J. Binnie

Background: World Rowing’s decision to support the proposed change from a 2000-m to a 1500-m regatta course at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles is anticipated to have important implications for athlete preparation and race execution during the 2024–2028 quadrennium. Purpose: This commentary aims to provide insight into the expected implications of the reduction in course length heading into the 2028 Games, focusing on the training and monitoring of high-performance rowers, as well as tactical, technical, and pacing considerations for performance. The reduction in event duration (estimated to be ∼90–120 s across all event classes) will lead to an expected ∼5% to 15% increase in relative contribution of anaerobic metabolism. Consequently, adjustment in training periodization priorities toward higher-intensity interventions may be required, especially in the period immediately prior to the games. The critical-power and anaerobic-power-reserve concepts may become more useful tools for structuring exercise programs, evaluating training outcomes, and determining event suitability through individual physiological profiling. Additionally, the adoption of a more constant (flat) pacing strategy, rather than the commonly used reverse J-shaped approach, might be considered for racing over this new distance. Finally, technical aspects, such as stroke rate and gearing, may require adjustment for optimal performance; however, research is clearly required to explore such effects. Conclusions: Our intention is to stimulate discussion and debate, with the provision of practical recommendations that aim to optimize rowers’ preparation for and performance at the 2028 Olympic Games.