Breathing During Rowing

As a rower, your breathing muscles are not only used for breathing but also for maintaining your posture and for transmitting force during the ‘drive’ phase. This is because your breathing muscles, including your diaphragm, engage in helping to strengthen your trunk and protect your spine.

Both breathing and postural control is required at the ‘finish’ of the stroke for helping to prevent you from falling backwards. But at the ‘catch’, breathing is hampered because of the crouch position adopted. This squashes the abdomen and impedes the diaphragm, making it difficult to inflate your lungs and breathe deeply.

outdoor rowing team training

Inspiratory Muscle Fatigue From Rowing

Inspiratory muscle fatigue increases too with intensity of exercise above 85% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). If you are a competitive indoor rower, a significant amount of your training will be carried out above this level. Furthermore, during the main body of a 2000m race or time trial, you will be working above 90% of your VO2max. This can result in breathing taking precedence over your posture, increasing the risk of injury and impairing performance.

These many demands that rowing places on breathing result in breathing fatigue, the potential for injury and impaired performance. However, by training your breathing muscles with POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training (IMT breathing trainers) and POWERbreathe Expiratory Muscle Training (EMT breathing trainers), breathing strength and stamina will improve, and breathing fatigue will reduce.

Inspiratory Muscle Training Benefits Rowers

We know that breathing does limit performance, however the limitations can be significantly overcome by training the respiratory system, specifically the breathing (inspiratory) muscles.

Also, by strengthening your inspiratory muscles with POWERbreathe IMT, blood flow demand by your inspiratory muscles reduces, cardiac output to your leg muscles increases and as a result your performance will improve.

Improved Times

IMT improved rowing time trial performance by up to 2.2% which, equivalent to slashing 60m in a 2km race

Increased Strength

IMT increased strength of inspiratory muscles by 31%

Performance Gains

POWERbreathe warm-up significantly improved rowing performance and reduced breathlessness in competitive rowers

Rowing Warm-Up & Recovery

Research shows that a standard pre-exercise warm-up routine fails to prepare the inspiratory muscles for the rigours of exercise, and laboratory trials on competitive rowers shows that a POWERbreathe warm-up significantly improved rowing performance and reduced breathlessness.

Researchers in Brazil have found that breathing against a small inspiratory load straight after exercise reduces lactate by 16%. And inspiratory loading reduces lactate as soon as exercise stops. In fact, 5-mins after using the inspiratory load, lactate concentration was equivalent to that achieved in 15-mins passive recovery.

Suitable Products to Improve Your Rowing Performance