peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

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Claudius
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peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Claudius »

Recently I have been thinking a little bit about the physical adaptation mechanisms in sports, especially in endurance sports. What can you do to increase the Vo2max ? How do I train for longer distances ? How to train for shorter distances ? And where do I place the 2000m ? An elementary question for me at the beginning is therefore what you actually want to do...the 2 extremes of indoor rowing: 100m sprint vs. 100k. The sprint will train the fast muscle fibres IIx: high lactate formation rate, rapid exhaustion, etc. The long distances, the other end the 100k will train the slow twitching muscle fibres I. Low lactate production rate, low fatigue potential.Now the 2k fall quite precisely into the VO2max component: maximum utilization of the aerobic system with already overthreshold lactate formation of the muscles. There are studies which have compared sports with cardiac adaptation. Here we distinguish between preload adaptation and afterload adaptation. Preload adaptation requires a good filling of the heart by the working isotonically contracting musculature. Worth mentioning here is the isometric contraction of the arms and also the latissimus in the first part of the pull-through, which in contrast to the isotonic contracting leg/hip muscles leads to a stronger increase in afterload. Especially cross-country skiing has a very high preload adaptation in relation to the afterload adaptation. Rowing here has a rather balanced relationship. Strength sports, especially weight lifting, etc. have a very high proportion of afterload adaptation. I have read that the 2k have an aerobic proportion of 80%, with an anaerobic proportion of 20%. This means that mainly aerobic slow muscle fibres are used, but compared to a long distance, a lot of anaerobic power is still needed.Nevertheless I would like to talk about the aerobic adaptation: the training of the slow-twitch fibres. What variables do we have in training. Power and speed during the pull-through. We can see this stroke by stroke via Ergdata, Peakforce and Avgforce. We can try to reduce the delta between Peakforce and Avgforce in order to reduce the load. We can increase the stroke frequency a little bit to adjust the force ratios so that there is less peak force. In this way the SlowTwitch fibres can be trained more specifically. This will also be a way to reduce the heart rate in the long term at the same intensity as a sign of better aerobic endurance. There are of course also considerations which aim at a kind of strength training during an endurance session: in Germany the method is called K3 training, in contrast to less strength and higher stroke rates, it aims at low stroke rates and high strength. In the past, it was thought that this would make strength training on a bicycle possible. Nowadays, it is assumed that the fast twitching muscle fibres are "aerobicised" when the training intensity is loaded up to the sweetspot/FTP, i.e. there is a switch from the fast 2x fibres to the 2a fibres, which then have a higher aerobic capacity. But in contrast, Coggan et al. write in their book training and racing with a powermeter "even if strength-endurance does enhance TypeII muscle-fiber recruitment, it is unclear why this would be necessary or desirable. When endurance atheltes do not perform strength-endurance training, TypeII fibers can still be sufficiently recruited, and hence trained, to cause the almost complete replacement of TypeIIx by Type IIa fibers and to result in an aerobic ability of Type II fibers equal to that of the same atheltes Type I fibers." In what way do you train? Do you have certain goals, or times or distances which are important to you? Do you do a lot of strength training ? Currently I am a strong supporter of the polarised training according to Seiler. Here, a high proportion of LIT training - low intensity training below the first lactate threshold LT1 ~75%Hfmax is specifically emphasised, where you can just about say your ABC without faltering. Less training in the middle range and again a little more in the upper FTP/Vo2max range- 80/20.

Here are a few more sources:
Acute and Chronic Response to Exercise in Athletes: The “Supernormal Heart”
​​https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29022255/
The physiology of rowing with perspective on training and health
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32627051/


https://www.empiricalcycling.com/podcast-episodes
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by JonT »

Claudius,

This is way beyond my comprehension of physiology and training.

In terms of what I am focussing on: I have definitely shifted towards larger volumes of UT2 training, towards the top of that range, which is around the 75% HRMax that you mention in your post. I used to do far more work close to or at HRMax. It definitely improved my performance over medium distances 2k-10k but mentally it was awful and I really didn't want to sit down and train. The UT2 training is definitely leading to improvements, but getting me nowhere near where I was 3 years ago.

I have just started to experiment with some off-erg condition training using weights, but on a high-rep, low-load basis. The focus of this for me is to improve my core stability and improve the balance of muscle usage in my legs and lower back to prevent injury and general aches and pains. Luckily for me my daughter is an experienced Personal Trainer and so she is working on a programme for me. Interestingly, it incorporates a lot of yoga focussed on lower back and hamstrings.

I'm sure other, more experienced and knowledgeable members will have something to add.
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Wow Claudius

That's an in depth question. Which really has no specific answer.

I only started serious training with a view to improving my ergo times at the beginning of August this year. My programme consists of :-
2 heavy weight sessions (compound lifts)
3 core based sessions using lighter weights.
6 - 10 erg sessions of which only 2 are at max heartrate. Polarised 80/20

I'm a firm believer in that everybody has different strengths & weaknesses and therefore a one programme fits all never works. Just because it worked for one athlete doesn't mean it will work for you.
My biggest weakness is my aerobic base. So my programme reflects this with a stronger emphasis on aerobic work. My strength work is more on maintaining it to help me stay injury free.
This just covers the body.......But for me the mind is just as important. You have to enjoy your training. Variation is also good. Cycling & running are good alternatives with a good HIIT session to stop boredom from creeping in. I must admit I hate running though.

Before August I used the erg especially for long 75%MHR with the odd crossfit WOD thrown in to mix up the week.
My best erg times have long past. But it doesn't stop me having fun while keeping my self healthy. But as an athlete you are constantly looking for a balance for any particular event with the key being injury free if possible. While improving on the weaker aspects of your chosen event to improve your score/time or distance.

What is your weakness (mine is cake 🙂) Claudius?? We all know what we need to work on the most.
Great post though
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Claudius »

Thank you both for your answers !
So my theoretically influenceable weakness would be beer, even if only in the form of one mixed drink (Radler ;-)) or one light wheat beer, but frequently... almost every evening, but it's not that bad...one is ok... :-) I am living in Bavaria...you cant say no to one Beer ;-) But there are surely more the "limiters" that can't be influenced, like sleep due to shifts or mosquitos...i´ve got a bad light sleep :-( ....or the lack of time in general...that's why I like to train during my emergency doctor shifts, here basically LIT. I find the low-intensity sessions mostly very relaxing, you can connect the machine to a third party software, like row pro... So i really want to sit down and train.
Strength training is important, for rowers and also for cyclists, esp. core training, but as described above, wouldnt do a K3 Training, better as a solo training at least 6h after a LIT or on a free day, and dont kill the legs...the focus is endurance... ;-)
Last edited by Claudius on Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

I've learned to enjoy 60 minute plus @ R18-20 75%MHR I'm even tempted by the crazy bear challenge 🙈 but it's at the wrong time of year for me. It just takes time & patience to build a good aerobic base.
My previous sports involved a lot of strength training which has given me a good base. The light beer sounds like a fantastic vice !!
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Iain »

Great post, if somewhat above me. I recently read "Fast After 50" by Joe Friel. He emphasizes the importance of strength and higher load training to prevent decline with age (my main focus). I do not have access to weights, so am currently trying to do a strength session on the erg. Short intervals at low ratings on higher than normal DF for 10-15 strokes before complete recovery. I am also doing press ups and sit ups in these sessions. The logic is that it is only with sessions that fully load the muscles that muscle mass can be maintained in the older athlete. In the 6 years I stopped training, I lost significant muscle mass and was not over endowed with muscle to start with, so this is an attempt to arrest and hopefully partially reverse this loss.

In a week I also try and do 1 VO2max session (done online with a trainer who is an old friend) and 1 other hard session, including long Pete intervals, CTC challenge, Nonathlon TT etc. I try and do as many long slow distances as possible. These are 60-90 mins maintaining <75% HRmax.

1 point of interest for me is re 80/20. How you define this is critical. I do a substantial volume of <75% HRmax work in extended warm ups and cool downs. Also my LSDs have substantially greater volume than the high intensity component of the hard sessions. Some people apply this to volume, while others per session. This is generally supported from data of professional athletes typically doing 2/3 sessions per day. I am unconvinced that reducing the number of sessions does not change the optimum balance. I am inclined to believe (admittedly without evidence, but without evidence I am aware of in conflict) that 2-3 hard sessions is optimum for most. There is likely to be some adaptions better supported by slower sessions, so someone only doing 3 sessions a week might well be better served by 1-2 long slow sessions, but so long as I am doing regular slower sessions I am not concerned with maintaining the 4:1 ratio that would reduce faster sessions to 1 per week.

Interested in others take on this, thanks Claudius for kicking this off.

- Iain
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by paulgould »

Iain wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:35 pm Great post, if somewhat above me. I recently read "Fast After 50" by Joe Friel. He emphasizes the importance of strength and higher load training to prevent decline with age (my main focus). I do not have access to weights, so am currently trying to do a strength session on the erg. Short intervals at low ratings on higher than normal DF for 10-15 strokes before complete recovery. I am also doing press ups and sit ups in these sessions. The logic is that it is only with sessions that fully load the muscles that muscle mass can be maintained in the older athlete. In the 6 years I stopped training, I lost significant muscle mass and was not over endowed with muscle to start with, so this is an attempt to arrest and hopefully partially reverse this loss.


- Iain
I am completely with you on the strength building element to erging - in fact it is probably my sole focus - for years I have rowed with the mesh grille off enabling me to row on a DF of 300-350, great for building strength and muscular endurance.
Since my CA, I have put the grille back on and row at DF 210-220, but have lowered the spm to 18-20, giving the same effect as before. I'm not entirely sure whether this training has added muscle mass, or merely retained it - I know that I am a lot stronger in my mid-50s than I have ever been.

As far as the periodisation and other questions Claudius has raised, I can't really comment as I have never gone for any of these structured training programmes - I agree with Kevin in that the key is building a good strong distance base and the way to achieve that is long slow distance - well that's what works for me

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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Wolfmiester »

Interesting topic.
I think we all know that building a good base is key, and then move on from there with something structured.
All of Eddie Fletcher's training plans are HR based, and he seems to be one of the best coaches out there ...
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

I also think the erg has so many different events from 100m to 100,000m that you can never be ready to break PBs in all of them at the same time. Way too many different zones of endurance & speed/strength.
I think it's only realistic to say you can only peak for any event twice in a year. You could drive yourself mad trying to do PBs all the time without probably any success. Some of the distances are in very similar zones & complement each other. But lots don't.
But base building is something you should do all year round 👍 with specific event pieces bolted on.

Enjoying everyone's contributions 😎
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Wolfmiester »

Kevinhorne44 wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:35 pm I also think the erg has so many different events from 100m to 100,000m that you can never be ready to break PBs in all of them at the same time. Way too many different zones of endurance & speed/strength.
I think it's only realistic to say you can only peak for any event twice in a year. You could drive yourself mad trying to do PBs all the time without probably any success. Some of the distances are in very similar zones & complement each other. But lots don't.
But base building is something you should do all year round 👍 with specific event pieces bolted on.
exactly, well said Kevin.
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Iain »

Kevinhorne44 wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:35 pmI also think the erg has so many different events from 100m to 100,000m that you can never be ready to break PBs in all of them at the same time. Way too many different zones of endurance & speed/strength.
I think it's only realistic to say you can only peak for any event twice in a year. You could drive yourself mad trying to do PBs all the time without probably any success. Some of the distances are in very similar zones & complement each other. But lots don't.
But base building is something you should do all year round 👍 with specific event pieces bolted on.

Enjoying everyone's contributions 😎
I don't know much research about the interaction of training one system prejudicing another. While periodising training is necessary to minimise the detriment of preparing for (and in some cases recovering from) individual races, for those of us who no longer race, I have always assumed that the many combined training plans (eg WP, PP) suggest that all can be moved on together, all be it without any evidence. This is certainly the case for those of us nowhere near their potential.

Even if improving one system will require another to lapse somewhat, to my knowledge there are only 4 distinct areas: strength/anaerobic, VO2 max, anaerobic threshold and aerobic/ base fitness and there is some overlap in the training of these and the univesal advice is to train continuously in the latter. I would be interested to understand if anyone periodises their training for more than the 3 remaining goals.

In addition, personally I believe that the overlap is greater for rowing than most other sports due to the relatively long gaps between the use of any one muscle. As I understand it the peak force required will mean that even for the longer distances (unsure for HM+) performed near maximally, there will be a much higher anaerobic component than for equivalent duration exercises in most other sports. As a result, while the cardiac and pulmonary systems will be used differently, at the muscular level the operation is more similar than in other sports. I have always assumed this is why the relative performance of ergers at different distances is less than in many other sports, with only really 2 broad categories of rowers (those favouring "sprints" and those better adapted to the longer distances). Although I appreciate that there is apparently 2 other "bands" of ultra-marathon and middle distance rowers, I have assumed that this is primarily due to mental (willingness to continue through pain as supported by confidence of successfully having done so) not physical constraints.

Very interested in any contrary views or evidence as I cannot substantiate much of this current belief.

- Iain
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by duffyoz »

Great topic of conversation. I just wish I understood more. I knew I didn't have the knowledge to design my own erg training plan and after following the beginner PP I was looking for something different. I also realised that I wouldn't improve anywhere near as much without someone to write a strength program. So while I can't add much insight I can comment on the programs I use, or see used by others in the instagram rowing community.

Erg program written by Sarah Gibbs (UK) - 3 sessions a week plus I add one long LIS session. Currently rebuilding from our racing season and some injuries but normally a speed session, a HR dictated session and depending where in the cycle some quite different 3rd session. 2 of 3 usually quite hard but only redline (>90%) every other week. I note that those that use John Davies (?) (instagram jdmad) appear to get a redline session each week. This would likely knock me about too much, but clearly works for others. Sarah is a fan of strength work as well.

Strength and conditioning by Will Holland at START training here in Brisbane. Will is an exercise physiologist. Heavier weights when building but program changes as we went into and through our racing cycle. Who knew there was so many ways to hit the same muscle. The program is balanced across the entire body but a focus on the anterior chain and core work. He has always seemed concerned at setting a program that is at cross purposes to the erging program, based on training in opposing ways prevents the most benefit from being obtained by either system your trying to improve. Improvement will still happen just not the maximal gains possible from the effort applied. I wish I had just a tiny portion of Will's knowledge. As we approached our State and National titles the work was lower weight, higher rep.

I am a believer in having a solid base to launch anything from and in setting goals for various parts of the year. I'm not good at sprints and the 2k is my favourite event, but LIS are also enjoyable to keep the base and watch netflix trash.
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Iain »

Lesley, thanks for the info. Interested in your comment about "redline" sessions. How do you define >90%? If this is on HR, that would be all my hard sessions (but not the strength ones as the reps are too short, but >90% effort), but perhaps that is only doable as I don't do as much strength work.
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Kevinhorne44 »

Lesley when you dropped the weight & increased the reps. Did you also introduce speed/dynamic into the movement ? I presume some of your lifts will have been Olympic based ?
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Claudius »

Many thanks for your answers,

Strength training of the aging athelete seems to be very important, especially in a sport with a high strength component. But rather as an isolated training, not as an endurance training with strength proportion- like the stroke capped based ctc in January 2019 20min max 20 strokes/min...
many of my considerations come from cycling, as there is simply more flow of knowledge, podcasts, etc...just today a short summary about rowing a triathlon channel was posted (unfortunately in German) on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfYAjeqNwWU
it does seem that the polarized approach originally comes also from rowing...I always thought it was cross-country skiing...coming back to the initial question, the cardiac adaptation processes in different sports, and I must correct myself here, it was cycling where there is a fairly balanced ratio of preload and afterload adaptation. Rowing here had more afterload adjustment. Insert the graphic.

cardiac adaption.JPG
cardiac adaption.JPG (40.91 KiB) Viewed 1204 times
cavaty size LV means preload adaption of the left ventricular from a good filling of the blood flow of the (isotonic) muscles, and wall thickness of the left ventrucular after load...from for example strength training, or esp. isometric contracting muscles.

Very interesting Lesley that your coach says more reps, less weight, is the time for one set less than 2 min...i read that in strength training one set should not last longer than 2min...
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Mike Channin »

Hi Claudius - fascinating article - let me absorb, and then it will be worth catching up. I'm just coming back into training properly..

I guess one quick question is which App(s) do you all use, what do you get from them, and how do you rate them? (It's all changed/moved on a lot since I last looked at this in detail...)
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Re: peak force, avg force, DF, stroke rate, cardiac adaption and the role of muscle fiber types

Post by Claudius »

thanks you for your answer and sorry for my belated answer ! - i just have to install tapatalk i guess... :wink:

Apps i use: nearly everytime Ergdata - which one you need to see those metrics like avg force and peak force.

If the connection pm5 ergdata is lost due to high stroke rates and a disconnection due to the cable or if i forget the cable or the phone is on low battery i use c2 utility to retrieve the lost files.

i wanted to write a summarize about my experiences with low drag, a slightly bit higher stroke rate and the consecutive lower delta-force: between avg and peak force...as if "everything is connected"...like the virtual world between the real world with apps...and in our body the adaptions are also "connected" one adaption relies on the other...cause and effect...if focus on endurance, training for longer distances, seeing those adaptions as a whole process it is clear that observing one single metric like this delta force is only one chain in the whole process...but as if "everything is connected" it will reveal information about your upcoming adaptions. So far some words about my experiences of the past few month... i could write up some more details about it if anybody is interested.

i also wrote an article about rowing with zwift. The 2nd App i freqeuntly use. After 6 month i still use it as a tool for great motivation...not for comparisson...as this i found absurd as rowing is not cycling !
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