Towards an ideal rowing technique for performance: The contributions from biomechanics

  • Soper C
  • Hume P
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At international standard, sculling (two oars) and rowing (one oar) are competed on-water over 2000 m. Race time is the critical measure of performance and is determined from mean skiff velocity during a race. Although a high proportion of race training is completed on-water, rowing ergometers are commonly used for performance testing, technique coaching, crew selection or for training during poor weather. Rowing biomechanics research has aimed to identify characteristics of successful sculling and sweep rowing strokes; however, biomechanical predictors of 2000 m rowing performance are indistinct in the literature. If specific biomechanical parameters distinguish between ability levels and successful or unsuccessful techniques, these attributes can be considered when modifying technique or predicting future rowing performance. The kinematics and kinetics of the sculling and rowing movements have been described on ergometers, on-water and for novice and elite male and female rowers, but there is limited research on the ideal technique or how a rower's anthropometry or boat set-up could help improve/optimise their rowing performance. Currently viewing the technique and providing verbal feedback is the primary tool used by a coach to help improve a rower's technique and performance. The greater use of customised telemetered sensors on the rowing skiff can assist the coach and biomechanist with judging when performance (skiff velocity) improves with some form of intervention.

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