Autonomic and psychological adaptations in Olympic rowers

F. Iellamo, F. Pigozzi, A. Spataro, V. Di Salvo, F. Fagnani, A. Roselli, M. Rizzo, M. Malacarne, M. Pagani, D. Lucini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. Power spectral analysis of heart rate variability has been used to assess the time course of neurovegetative adaptations to training. This study was undertaken: 1) to evaluate whether and which indicator(s) of autonomic cardiac regulation and psychophysical stress can identify successful athletes during a training season culminating with the Olympic Games and 2) to evaluate the feasibility of a quasi-on-line assessment of autonomic cardiac regulation from training field, by a telematic approach. Methods. This study was conducted on the group of male athletes composing the Italian national team of rowing (n=34), in the season preceding the 2004 Olympic Games. Complete results are from 18 subjects (age 25.3±0.5 years), who were selected to participate to the Athens' Olympic games. Athletes were studied while partially detrained, at mid-training season and close to the games. The RR interval was obtained through a miniature transtelephonic-ECG recorder in the supine and standing posture, thus allowing the evaluation of cardiovascular responses to a sympathetic challenge. Data were downloaded through a telephone line, to the referral center where RR-interval variability data were analyzed with the autoregressive method. Also, in each study sessions, athletes filled a self-administered questionnaire of stress perception and somatic symptoms (4S-Q). Results. All ECG recordings were transmitted successfully by phone to the referral center. No significant difference was detected in any marker of autonomic cardiac regulation between athletes who won a medal at the Olympic Games and those who did not. However, respiratory rate was faster in medal winners (P=0.02), while the questionnaire addressing stress (4S-Q) provided greater scores in the group that did not win a medal (F=5.55, P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-604
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Elite athletes
  • Heart rate variability
  • Stress assessment
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Autonomic and psychological adaptations in Olympic rowers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this