G. Gay, M. Davis, S. Bass, B. Yee, A. Vahk, K. Taylor

Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA

Previous research has shown that music can positively affect exercise performance across a wide range of activities, particularly running. However, there is limited research investigating other exercise modalities, such as rowing, and furthermore, the effect of music tempo on exercise performance. PURPOSE: To determine the effect of tempo of music on rowing performance in female college students. METHODS: Ten recreationally-active female college students (age: 19.8 ± 1.0 years) volunteered for the study. All participants completed three trials on the rowing ergometer in a randomized and counterbalanced study design. Each study visit consisted of a warm-up, submaximal two-minute rowing test, and a cool-down with a study visit lasting approximately 35 minutes. The three exercise conditions were normal tempo (N), a 10% decrease in music tempo (S) and a 10% increase in music tempo (F), all using the same music at the same volume. During each visit, heart rate (pre- and post-), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and rowing distance were measured. Data was analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance with Tukey’s post hoc analysis with an alpha level set at 0.05. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in distance rowed across the three conditions (p=0.93). On average, N had the greatest distance rowed (474.4 ± 37.4 m) compared to F (472.0 ± 37.4 m) and S (467.9 ± 37.6 m). Furthermore, there were no differences between conditions for heart rate or RPE (p>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The findings from the current study suggest that tempo of music does not affect rowing performance in female college students. These results are in contradiction to previous research in cycling; suggesting that rowing may be less affected by music than other exercise modalities. However, the results should be interpreted with caution due to a small convenience sample of participants. Future research should investigate the effect of music tempo on rowing performance in a large, randomized group of both male and female participants. Additionally, future studies would also benefit from measuring additional data such as power output to understand whether music tempo acts as a positive ergogenic aid to exercise.

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