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Article Title

DOES TEMPO MATTER? THE EFFECT OF MUSIC TEMPO ON ROWING PERFORMANCE IN FEMALE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Abstract

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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