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Old 03-01-2011, 09:04 AM   #1
Josh Bailey
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Rowing advice

I know there are rowing videos on the mainsite. But, I thought I would pose a question here to hear some different responses.
I am 5'8". There is a significant disadvantage when I am rowing versus a person who is taller. What I have found when practicing with my rower is that when I use short quick pulls without full ROM, it keeps the power output in the 60's s/m. When I give it all I've got with full ROM, the power output is less.
I have never rowed competitively or in an actual boat but it seems like those guys are using full ROM and that would give the best/fastest time.
Those of you with rowing experience, would you consider this type (short, quick, non full ROM) of rowing cheating the machine?
Could you get faster times in a boat with this type of movement?
When being judged in a competition, is this legal?
Thanks,
Dr. J
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:12 AM   #2
Josh Wright
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Re: Rowing advice

You can't cheat the machine.
Do whatever you can to get the best possible time. Short ROM, choppy type strokes keep you in the most powerful part of the stroke but are inefficient over longer distances.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
Glenn Pasewicz
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Re: Rowing advice

A longer stroke that engages full leg drive and opening the hips would ultimately make you faster through the water, and, presumably on the C2.

Your strokes per minute rating isn't measuring the same thing as power or speed (through the water). Keeping it in the 60s isn't really a measure of how much power you're applying to the oar/C2 handle. I think that's what you're referring to in your post.

Back when I rowed competitively, we looked at the split times as a measure of speed. Stroke ratings topped out in the mid to upper 30s and settled in the low-mid 30s.

One more thing: A rowing shell is very tippy. Short, choppy strokes would make a nightmare of the balance.

Last edited by Glenn Pasewicz; 03-01-2011 at 09:30 AM.. Reason: more info
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:47 PM   #4
Josh Bailey
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Re: Rowing advice

thanks for the response. I just tried the full extension of hips on a 500m and it is definitely better. 1:49 vs. 2:06. Oh, and the s/m was around 34. Thanks for the advice.
Dr. J
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:25 PM   #5
Josh Wright
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Re: Rowing advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Pasewicz View Post

One more thing: A rowing shell is very tippy. Short, choppy strokes would make a nightmare of the balance.
I hope you don't think I was indicating that short choppy strokes were the way to best row in a boat. I was speaking strictly to being fast on the erg, in a presumably short (CrossFit) distance.
Though I must disagree with short strokes causing a poor set to the boat. The more the blade is in the water, the easier the boat sets up. It's the recovery portion of the stroke, where the blade is out of the water, that maintaining the set becomes the most difficult.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
Glenn Pasewicz
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Re: Rowing advice

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Originally Posted by Josh Wright View Post
I hope you don't think I was indicating that short choppy strokes were the way to best row in a boat.
No, I certainly didn't mean to imply that. I thought Josh the OP wondered if a short choppy stroke would translate to speed in the water, and I don't think it would, at least over a distance. At the start, yes, I agree it would.

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Originally Posted by Josh Wright View Post
Though I must disagree with short strokes causing a poor set to the boat. The more the blade is in the water, the easier the boat sets up. It's the recovery portion of the stroke, where the blade is out of the water, that maintaining the set becomes the most difficult.
True, but wouldn't the extraction and catch be rushed and make the boat more difficult to set? I picture lots of splashing, missed catches, and crabs.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:41 PM   #7
Glenn Pasewicz
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Re: Rowing advice

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Originally Posted by Josh Bailey View Post
thanks for the response. I just tried the full extension of hips on a 500m and it is definitely better. 1:49 vs. 2:06. Oh, and the s/m was around 34. Thanks for the advice.
Dr. J
Well, you don't want to open up too far and lay back too much. Although I think the measure of "too much" is sort of fuzzy.

I've seen some powerful rowers cruise with ratings in the low 20s.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
Tom Fetter
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Re: Rowing advice

The other thing about rowing on the water vs. on a machine is how much more important full extension is at the "catch." That's because leverage angles of the sculls in terms of actually moving the boat are hugely more favourable at the beginning of the stroke up to the mid-point (i.e. when they reach a 90 degree angle with the boat) than when you've passed the middle.

On a machine, that kind of leverage isn't a factor ... but on the water? If you're going to develop the bad habit of short-changing your stroke anywhere ... on the water you're much faster if you short-change the finish instead of the catch.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:23 PM   #9
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Rowing advice

Quote:
when I use short quick pulls without full ROM, it keeps the power output in the 60's s/m. When I give it all I've got with full ROM, the power output is less.
Stroke rate is not the same as power output. It is entirely possible to have a high stroke rate and a low power output.

The power output is best guaged by looking at the 500 meter pace.

I would also say that distance per stroke is more important than stroke rate. The reason why the heavyweights row faster than the lightweights is because they cover more distance per stroke, not because they have a higher stroke rate. A rower who has poor distance per stroke is at a big disadvantage over a rower who can put efficient power into each stroke.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:41 PM   #10
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Rowing advice

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
Stroke rate is not the same as power output. It is entirely possible to have a high stroke rate and a low power output.
I'd say that's even the more likely situation. My fastest 500m time does *not* coincide with my highest possible stroke rate.

Katherine
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