Velocity-Based Strength Training for Rowers: Will Ruth

Low Back Stress Varies–Erg vs. Water: Blake Gourley

Slow or Fast Stretch-Shortening Cycles: Joe DeLeo

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Improved strength and recovery after velocity-based training: a randomized controlled trial. Held, S., Hecksteden, A., Meyer, T., & Donath, L. (2021). International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 0(0).

Velocity-based strength training (VBT) is an increasingly popular method of strength training based on the speed of the movement. In this study, 21 highly trained rowers used either VBT or traditional percentage-based programming over eight weeks of strength training, alongside their regular rowing training. The VBT rowers improved maximal strength in the squat, deadlift, bench pull, and bench press significantly more than the traditional group and equivalently improved VO2 max and power at VO2 max, while doing fewer total repetitions and experiencing faster recovery and lower training stress from strength training. This article explores applications of VBT for rowers.

A comparison between foot, handle forces and lower back positions between ergometers and on-water rowing with high performance rowers. Millar, S., Reid, D., & Keeley, L. (2020). New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(1).

Researchers compared lumbar spine curvature and foot and handle forces of four international female rowers in three different rowing environments: stationary erging, erging on sliders, and rowing in a double. Researchers found that rowing in the double produced the lowest amounts of force, a later application of maximal force, and lower amounts of lumbar curvature when maximal force was applied. Coaches and rowers can use this research to develop strategies to reduce injury risk, safely help rowers return from an injury, and appreciate the technical gap between rowing on land versus rowing on the water.

Electromyographic activity of the vastus medialis and gastrocnemius implicates a slow stretch-shortening cycle during rowing in the field. Held, S., Siebert, T., Lars, D. (2020). Scientific Reports, 10.

Researchers had 10 Male German National Team Rowers participate in a cross-sectional study to determine the speed of the stretch-shortening cycle. The researchers found that the timing of the rowing stroke was associated with a slow stretch-shortening cycle. Rowing coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and rowers can use this information to program slow stretch-shortening cycle plyometrics to have better transfer to rowing performance.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-strength coaches, Will Ruth, Blake, Gourley, and Joe DeLeo. Our goal is to move research into practice for coaches and rowers of all ages, types, and levels. We are entirely member-funded and do not promote products or sell advertisements. Members receive one issue each month containing three reviews of recent and applicable research in rowing training, strength training for rowing, and other relevant performance areas like psychology, injury analysis, technology, and more.

Each issue includes video and graphic content to help move the knowledge into practice, as well as a podcast episode of the three of us discussing the takeaways and our experiences. Membership includes access to all prior issues, so join us for one month and get access to every issue. We also offer discounted annual and team memberships, as well as gift memberships for a special rower or coach in your life.