Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Applied Science Honours


Faculty of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Colin James


The purpose of this study was to determine whether high intensity exercise, combined with restriction of diet, is counter-productive to the normal health and development of the competitor. The study investigated the effects of high intensity exercise on body composition (fat, muscle and bone); bone density; and physical performance (aerobic capacity, rowing performance, quadricep strength, power and fatiguability) in twelve lightweight female rowers (age range 17- 25yrs), training for the State and National lightweight championships. Six of the rowers completed the testing, which consisted of test1 (pre-training) and test2 (post-training) after a 12 weeks training regime.

Skinfold measurements were lower and significantly different (p < 0.05) from pre-training values. Bodyweight results were also significantly lower (p < 0.05), however, the mean bodyweight was still above the regulation weight of 59kgs. Mean bone mineral density for female lightweight rowers (n=9, mean age 20.5 yrs) was significantly greater than (p < 0.05) (independent t-Test) established norms for 19yr olds (n=20). Physical performance data (Max VO2, Muscular force, power and fatiguability) were not significantly different from pre-training values. However, normalised data for peak torque (right leg) at 120 and 180 deg/secs were significantly different (p < 0.05). The dry (land based) performance test was significantly different (p < 0.001), which indicated that all individual performance results were improving.

These data do not suggest that Lightweight rowers experience any health or development problems while involved in high intensity training whilst diet restricting. However, it is recommended that further study be continued until the National titles when the regulation weight limit of 59kgs will be achieved.