New sub-max test to predict 2k score

From the National Strength and Conditioning Association 

Abstract: Otter, RTA, Brink, MS, Lamberts, RP, and Lemmink, KAPM. A new submaximal rowing test to predict 2,000-m rowing ergometer performance. J Strength Cond Res 29(9): 2426–2433, 2015—

The purpose of this study was to assess predictive value of a new submaximal rowing test (SmRT) on 2,000-m ergometer rowing time-trial performance in competitive rowers. In addition, the reliability of the SmRT was investigated.

Twenty-four competitive male rowers participated in this study. After determining individual HRmax, all rowers performed an SmRT followed by a 2,000-m rowing ergometer time trial. In addition, the SmRT was performed 4 times (2 days in between) to determine the reliability.

The SmRT consists of two 6-minute stages of rowing at 70 and 80% HRmax, followed by a 3-minute stage at 90% HRmax.

Power was captured during the 3 stages, and 60 seconds of heart rate recovery (HRR60s) was measured directly after the third stage.

Results showed that predictive value of power during the SmRT on 2,000-m rowing time also increased with stages. CVTEE% is 2.4, 1.9, and 1.3%. Pearson correlations (95% confidence interval [95% CI]) were −0.73 (−0.88 to −0.45), −0.80 (−0.94 to −0.67), and −0.93 (−0.97 to −0.84). 2,000-m rowing time and HRR60s showed no relationship. Reliability of power during the SmRT improved with the increasing intensity of the stages. The coefficient of variation (CVTEM%) was 9.2, 5.6, and 0.4%. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and 95% CI were 0.91 (0.78–0.97), 0.92 (0.81–0.97), and 0.99 (0.97–1.00). The CVTEM% and ICC of HRR60s were 8.1% and 0.93 (0.82–0.98).

In conclusion, the data of this study shows that the SmRT is a reliable test that it is able to accurately predict 2,000-m rowing time on an ergometer. The SmRT is a practical and valuable submaximal test for rowers, which can potentially assist with monitoring, fine-tuning and optimizing training prescription in rowers.

Can any of our readers help explain how the numbers from the 3 tests go into predicting the 2k time?

Athlete testing and selection protocols ebook by Martin McIlroy covers a range of other tests coaches can use to test athletes.

2 thoughts on “New sub-max test to predict 2k score

  1. Jorrit Kortink says:


    Assuming that the three tests are the following:
    1) Maximal row to determine max heart rate
    2) 2000m maximal row
    3) Submaximal Rowing Test

    First of all the maximal row is used only to determine the maximal heart rate. From the max heart rate the three stages of the SmRT are determined.
    The numbers from the submaximal rowing test (70%, 80%, 90%) were correlated to the 2000m score. From that correlation you get a formula (e.g 300W on the 90% stage would get you 6.40, every 10W increase leads to a 5s drop in predicted 2k time (fictional numbers) . The analysis shows that the 90% stage is most consistently correlated to the 2k time.

  2. Elias says:

    The submaximal rowing ergometer test (SmRT) has been developed on the basis of the Lamberts and Lamber submaximal cycling test (LSCT) designed to estimate the performance potential and training status of athletes. Essentially, the procedure is to complete 3 pieces on the rowing ergometer at various targeted heart rates (70%, 80% and 90% of maximum heart rate), and analyze the power (Watts), required to achieve these heart rates. The test is a good way to monitor the progress of one’s athletes, as it can be done on a fairly regular basis, even every week. It can be integrated into normal workouts as a warm-up to harder training sessions.

    The results in this particular study indicate that the subjects were able to perform the first stage (70% of HRmax) at 43 ± 6% of their 2,000m test average power, the second stage (80% of HRmax) at 54 ± 4 % of their 2,000m average power, and the third stage (90% of HRmax) at 75 ± 5 % of their 2,000m average power. The study was conducted on Concept 2 machines, but I imagine that reasonably similar power correlations can be assumed for RowPerfect (assuming that Watts are converted to roughly equivalent 500m splits). Thus for example, an athlete pulling 6:22,5 on Concept 2, which means an average power of 400W would be expected to complete the third stage at an average power of 300W, the second stage at 216W and the first stage at 172W. The according formulas for predicting 2,000m test power would be

    2,000m power (W)=Average power (W)/0.75 for the third stage
    2,000m power (W)=Average power (W)/0.54 for the second stage, and
    2,000m power (W)=Average power (W)/0.43 for the first stage.

    It is recommended to use the third and second stage for predicting 2,000m times, as they are more reliable.

    The protocol for the test is fairly simple, but a couple of important notes should be made.

    What you need: A rowing machine, which accurately measures power (W), a reliable heart rate monitor, and knowledge of your maximum heart rate (preferably measured in rowing, and not an age related estimate, or heart rate measured in another form of physical activity).

    The protocol:
    The athlete rows two six minute pieces and one three minute piece on the rowing machine at different targeted heart rates (70%, 80% and 90% of HRmax). So an athlete with a maximum heart rate of 200 should row the first six minutes at 140 bpm, 160 bpm, and 180 bpm. There is no rest period between the intervals. Additionally, the authors of the study excluded the first minute of each piece from analysis, which is quite important! The first minute of each piece should be spent in reaching the targeted heart rate, and the remaining five or two minutes at maintaining the heart rate, and adjusting power accordingly. The reason why this is important is due to the fact that it takes a while for your cardiovascular system to react to the intensity, and you won’t instantly hit the correct heart rate, in fact it is quite likely that you will have to row the first minute of each piece at a higher power output than the remainder in order to reach your target HR, and thus including this first minute in your analysis would distort the estimated 2,000m power output (giving too optimistic targets).

    You might also ask why complete the first two stages if only the third is used for analysis. The reason for this is simple, the first two should at least serve as a warm-up to the third stage, making it both more pleasant (a lower power output required to reach your target HR), and because skipping the first two stages will distort the 2,000m prediction.

    After completion, you should check the average power of the last five minutes of the first two stages, and of the last two minutes for the third stage, and record your rate of perceived exertion (Borg RPE scale from 6 to 20). Use the above-mentioned formulas to give predicted 2,000m power outputs. In addition to this, I recommend that you check your heart rate data to ensure that you stayed in the correct area for the test.

    This test is also a good tool for monitoring the training status of the athlete. In order to do this, you should also measure your heart rate recovery (HRR). In order to do this, you should sit still for one minute after the third stage, avoiding talking and any kind of physical activity or agitation which could affect your heart rate. Check your heart rate after 60 seconds of test completion. In order to estimate your training status you can use the following guidelines (originally from LSCT):
    Improved training status:
    -Higher power output during the second and third stage (by about 6% or 10-11W at least)
    -A faster HRR after the third stage
    – Similar or lower RPE score
    Decrease in training status:
    -Lower power output during the second and third stage
    -A slower HRR after the third stage
    -Similar or higher RPE score.
    A change in only one of these parameters merits an evaluation of completed training, but not necessarily any changes, but a change in two or three parameters is a good indicator of either improved training status or a potential risk of overtraining.

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