Cerebrovascular responses during rowing: Do circadian rhythms explain morning and afternoon performance differences?

O K Faull, J D Cotter, S J E Lucas

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to characterize cerebrovascular responses to rowing exercise, investigating whether their diurnal variation might explain performance differences across a day. Twelve male rowers completed incremental rowing exercise and a 2000-m ergometer time trial at 07:00 h and 16:00 h, 1 week apart, while middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv), cerebral (prefrontal), and muscular (vastus lateralis) tissue oxygenation and hemoglobin volume (via near-infrared spectroscopy), heart rate, and pressure of end-tidal CO2 (PET CO2 ) were recorded. MCAv was 20-25% above resting levels (68 ± 12 cm/s) during submaximal and maximal exercise intensities, despite PET CO2 being reduced during maximal efforts (down ∼ 0.5-0.8 kPa); thus revealing a different perfusion profile to the inverted-U observed in other exercise modes. The afternoon time trial was 3.4 s faster (95% confidence interval 0.9-5.8 s) and mean power output 3.2% higher (337 vs 347 W; P = 0.04), in conjunction with similar exercise-induced elevations in MCAv (P = 0.60) and reductions in cerebral oxygenation (TOI) (P = 0.12). At the muscle, afternoon trials involved similar oxygen extraction (HHb volume and TOI) albeit from a relatively lower total Hb volume (P < 0.01). In conclusion, rowing performance was better in the afternoon, but not in conjunction with differences in MCAv or exercise-induced differences in cerebral oxygenation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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