Competitive rowing is an endeavour which maximally uses all the body’s energy systems due to its holistic nature of involvement. Ensuring that you’re getting optimal supplementation is an excellent way of giving you the competitive edge you’re looking for when trying to get the upper hand on your competitors. Let’s have a look at 5 supplements that you can add to your rowing performance arsenal:

1. Creatine

The best and most effective supplement found on the shelves of a supplement store, creatine has been shown to significantly increase lean body mass of rowers as well as greatly increase their endurance and anaerobic capabilities. According to a study conducted by Chwalbin ̃ska-Moneta J, long-term supplementation of creatine “appears to enhance overall training quality, leading to greater gains in strength and performance”. Since rowing is such a strenuous and arduous sport, the energy compiling and restorative qualities of creatine will boost any athlete’s energy levels, improve their abilities to push harder for longer and simultaneously increase and sustain their power output while in session. Furthermore, recovery between training sessions is enhanced and as a bonus effect, strength and muscular increases will be improved from session to session. Therefore, adding creatine will most definitely prove the be an effective, if not the most important, addition to any rowers’ supplementation strategy.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is a naturally occurring central nervous system stimulant that appears to enhance voluntary muscle contraction and motivation, reducing fatigue, effort, and pain perception. According to a study conducted by Carr AJ et al, rowing ergometer performances over 2000m was shown to have improved significantly when ingested approximately an hour before training sessions. Furthermore, caffeine has the distinct ability to augment the training capacity of an individual, especially during extremely strenuous sessions. According to Close GL et al, when taken specifically during deliberately fatiguing sessions in advanced coach/ athlete planning strategies, caffeine inclusion proved to be an invaluable addition to the overall output and performance abilities of the athlete during these fatiguing sessions. Furthermore, perceptions of fatigue levels were shown to be extended and, as a result, the mental focus of the studied athletes was sharpened.

This further contributed to the overall improvement of the performances being examined. Therefore, adding creatine to your nutrition and supplementation strategies will prove to be a great tool to include that provides excellent benefits.

3. Beta-Alanine

According to Hobson RM et al,” high-intensity training, 2,000-m ergometer time trials and on-water competitive events cause hydrogen ion accumulation and intramuscular acidosis that is associated with fatigue. Although muscle pH is well regulated by intracellular, extracellular, and dynamic buffering, nutritional strategies that reduce the negative impact of H+ accumulation are likely to attenuate performance decline”. This is where Beta-alanine comes in to provide support and alleviate these symptoms. It works by regulating the pH levels within the skeletal muscle and ensuring optimal ion levels. The same study previously mentioned showed Beta-alanine supplementation increased muscle carnosine concentration and was found to benefit 2000m rowing performances.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate

This substance has been shown to have significant effects when it comes to increasing blood buffering capacity during intense exercise and training. When coupled with the intake and effects of beta-alanine, the effects of Sodium Bicarbonate are compounded and have a profound effect on the aerobic performances of athletes like rowers. A study conducted by Carr J et al showed that when an acute dose of 0.3g of Sodium Bicarbonate per kilogram co-ingested with a carbohydrate-rich meal consumed over 30 to 60 min, 120 to 180 min before the start of exercise will induce substantial blood alkalosis. As a result, partnering Sodium Bicarbonate with the already valuable effects of Beta-alanine will provide a host of compounded benefits that will greatly improve your rowing performance.

5. Beetroot Juice

Beetroot juice is a natural source of inorganic nitrates that have been shown to increase the plasma nitrate nitric oxide bioavailability in the body. Nitric oxide is a compound that has a whole range of performance-related functions and has the ability to increase each of these performance-related functions. To demonstrate this, a study conducted by Hoon MW et al showed that beetroot juice supplementation improved the final three of six supramaximal 500m rowing efforts as well as in a 2,000-m ergometer time trial in elite rowers.

Rowers require highly developed aerobic and anaerobic systems as well as significant levels of strength and power. Given the extremely demanding nature of rowing training loads, optimal supplementation is a necessary and vital component needed to support the health, performance and output levels of all competitive rowers. By adding these five supplements, you can expect to see great improvements in all facets of your rowing endeavours.


Insane Labz Insane Creatine

With Insane Creatine, you will be able to lift more weight each workout, and recover between each set quicker. Creatine is stored in your muscles and causes them to absorb more water (cell volumization) leading to rapid gains in size. Creatine can also alter multiple cellular pathways by increasing the formation of proteins that form new muscle fibers.

Nutrex Caffeine 200

Caffeine 200 packs the energy of 200mg of pure caffeine in one easy to use, convenient and fast-acting liquid capsule. Already pre-liquefied caffeine rapidly triggers a range of performance-enhancing effects.

SSA Beta Alanine

An extremely useful product that is amongst the top performers in the supplement industry, Beta Alanine serves to make sure you can push yourself to new heights and, by doing so, create room for new growth and development. What’s more is that it doesn’t need to be cycled.

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