Adjusting Backrest Or Seat Angle Can Improve Performance For A PR1 Paralympic Rower – By Lisa Lowe

Rowers & Blisters: A Love Story – By Blake Gourley

Iron Supplementation Enhances Efficiency in Female Collegiate Rowers – By Joe DeLeo

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Article Summaries

Severin, A. C., Danielsen, J., Falck Erichsen, J., Wold Eikevåg, S., Steinert, M., Ettema, G., & Baumgart, J. K. (2021). Case Report: Adjusting Seat and Backrest Angle Improves Performance in an Elite Paralympic Rower. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 3.

Researchers had an elite PR1 (formerly Arms and Shoulders) rower perform both submaximal and maximal testing on a Concept 2 rower with three different backrest/seat angle setups to determine the effects on performance. Researchers found very significant improvements in multiple measures when backrest incline was increased including: greater distance covered, higher peak force, larger impulse, longer stroke length, increased trunk range of motion, and lower stroke rate. The exact angles used in this study likely won’t translate to every PR1 rower as all bodies are unique. Coaches and PR1 rowers should adjust backrest and seat angle to find the ideal set up for the rower.

Grima, J., Wood, M., Portelli, N., Grima-Cornish, J., Attard, D., Gatt, A., Formosa, C., Cerasola, D. (2022). Blisters and Calluses from Rowing: Prevalence, Perceptions and Pain Tolerance. Medicina, 58(77).

Researchers used a questionnaire to survey 145 on-water rowers about their experience with blisters and calluses. They found that blisters and calluses were an accepted and necessary part of rowing, regardless of competitive level. Rowers reported that blisters caused pain but this pain was perceived as bearable, and in this group’s experience infections were rare (~2%). Coaches and rowers should consider strategies to best manage blister severity and infection as they’re a part of our sport whether we like it or not.

Egan-Shuttler, J., Edmonds, R., & Ives, S. (2018). The efficacy of heart rate variability in tracking travel Dellavalle, D. & Haas, J. (2014). Iron supplementation improves energetic efficiency in Iron-depleted female rowers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(6).

Researchers examined the impact iron supplementation had on 31 female collegiate rowers and their 4,000 meter rowing ergometer time trial performance. The researchers found that the rowers who supplemented with >600 mg of iron each week were able to perform the same workloads at a lower caloric cost and were slower to fatigue.  The results of this study suggest that female rowers should be screened for iron levels at the start of, and throughout the training season. Rowers can then review their blood results with their doctor or a registered dietician to make improvements to their diet and supplement intake.

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.