A short while ago, we posted about the effects of either long v short low intensity rowing warm-up and subsequent 10min time-trial performance. In that study, it was observed that the short warm-up increased mean power 322W v 316 W for the first 7.5min of the time-trial. By extension, it would follow that an increase in power for 7.5min would improve 2km performance time as the standard race comes in under this time (dependent on weight-class).
A recent study by Feros et al. (2012) looked at the effects of two warm-up protocols on subsequent 1000m rowing performance in 10 national level Australian rowers. The study was a simple counter-balanced design where all subjects performed both warm-ups and 1000m time-trial on separate days. The two warm-up protocols were 1) regular rowing warm-up 2) a post-activation potentiation (PAP) warm-up consisting of a 5 * 5s sub-maximal into maximal isometric contraction of an immovable rowing ergometer. In the PAP warm-up, the muscles used in rowing are activated to the maximum capability of the rower (not necessarily 100% activation). The possible advantage of this protocol is an enhanced neuromuscular activation of the specific muscles involved in rowing that may then allow the rower to start the race with more power.
The PAP protocol significantly increased mean power by >6% (p < 0.01) and mean stroke rate by 5% (p < 0.05) over the first 500m, resulting in a significantly better 500m split time (p < 0.01). Therefore a PAP warm-up might be a useful way of enhancing the first 500m performance of competitive rowers.