Physiological Assessments for Rowers: Strength, Erg, and More – By Will Ruth

The Low Back Pain Experience – By Blake Gourley

The Relationship Between Boat Acceleration and Rowing Performance – By Joe DeLeo

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We are donating 100% of new monthly membership profits from November, 2021 to the Camp Lucy program by the George Pocock Rowing Foundation! We will automatically donate the first month of membership from new members this month to this fundraiser to increase rowing opportunities for middle school girls. More info here.

Relationship between strength and conditioning assessments and rowing performance in female collegiate athletes. Folk, A., Garcia, C., Whitney, S., & Kovacs, S. (2020). The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 0(0).

24 female collegiate rowers completed a one-repetition maximum (1RM) back squat, 1RM hang clean, and 2km ergometer test. Both 1RM squat and 1RM hang clean were significantly correlated with faster 2km performance. When considered alongside bodyweight, age, and years of rowing experience, only squat 1RM was a predictor of 2km time. These findings suggest that stronger rowers are faster rowers, and we explore how rowers and coaches can use strength as an assessment for rowing performance.

Free Bonus Content! Interview with Alex Wolf.

‘You’re the best liar in the world’: a grounded theory study of rowing athletes’ experience of low back pain. Wilson, F., Ng, L., O’Sullivan, K., Caneiro, J., O’Sullivan, P., Horgan, A., Thornton, J., Wilkie, K., Timonen, V. (2021). British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Researchers interviewed 25 adult rowers, 13 male, and 12 female, on their personal experience with low back pain caused by rowing. Rowers have a tendency to hide their pain from their coaches, teammates, and medical team, because of trust issues, fear of judgment, fear of loss, and their perception of the rowing culture. Coaches, support staff, and rowers can change rowing culture for the better by enhancing communication and the response to injury, ultimately improving rowing performance and athlete retention.

Free Bonus Content! Rower/coach voices on low back pain.

Relationships between measures of boat acceleration and performance in rowing, with and without controlling for stroke rate and power output. Holt, A., Ball, K., Siegel, R., Hopkins, W. & Aughey, R. (2021). PLOS ONE, 16(8).

Researchers studied 44 national and international level male and female Australian rowers to determine the relationship between boat speed and performance. The rowers completed seventy four, 2,000-meter races across three regattas instrumented with technology to collect power data for the single sculling and coxless pair events. The researchers found that the late recovery and early to mid-drive phases were decisive to boat acceleration. Coaches and rowers can use the results of this study to emphasize specific technical elements of the rowing stroke to improve boat speed and boat efficiency.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-and-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.