Burns, E., Burns, D. DeSales University, Center Valley, PA

Purpose: Rowing ergometer exercise differs from treadmill exercise in two ways. Treadmill exercise utilizes primarily the lower extremities and is a load-bearing activity. Rowing is a seated activity and utilizes a much greater muscle mass. This study compared metabolic responses to these two exercise modes at differing submaximal intensities. Methods: Twelve healthy college-age males completed one exercise exposure on a treadmill and one on a rowing ergometer. Metabolic steady state was achieved during each stage of exercise at intensities approximating 4, 6, and 8 MET. Oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and heart rate were monitored throughout the exercise. Fat-free mass (FFM) was estimated by hydrostatic weighing using a helium dilution technique so that metabolic cost could be expressed relative to both total body mass (TBM) and lean body mass. Results: Although not significantly different, the power generated in rowing exercise is uniformly higher than on the treadmill at the same intensity. Metabolic resource and energy cost relative to working mass appear similar in the two exercise modes, although the RER at 4 MET is somewhat lower in treadmill exercise as compared to rowing. Conclusion: The data from this small study appear not to justify claims that the larger muscle mass utilized during rowing generate higher metabolic demands as compared to treadmill exercise; in fact the opposite may be true since rowing generated higher power output than treadmill exercise at similar metabolic demand. There appears to be little difference in metabolic resource or metabolic demand relative to actively working muscle between the two exercise modes.



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