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Measuring indoor rowing technique

What does it all mean?

We've had questions from our customers regarding the metrics that RowP pod+ App measure indoors. While we're working on a proper manual here's a blog post with two videos showing how to use measure rowing technique on the Concept2 and on the RP3 and descriptions on what the metrics we measure mean.

Measuring rowing technique on the Concept2

There was fresh snow in Helsinki yesterday and the sun almost came out so I took my Concept2 out on the balcony to do a quick how to video:

On the Concept2 the phone with the RowP App needs to be attached to the handle and the sensor pod needs to be on the seat with the pod handle facing forwards. The pod can be on the side of the C2 seat or you can also put it inside the ProW seat, it happens to fit perfectly:

The RowP pod fits iinside the ProW seat. Here we've cut the ProW soft wedge to give a perfect slot for the pod.

First thing you need to do before rowing is making sure you've selected the right boat type. The boat type selection influences the algorithms used so is very important. Our App can measure both on water as well as indoors (static and dynamic).

If you have a pod you need to make sure the sensor is "On", otherwise the App will not search for a sensor pod when you want to start rowing.

The Virtual Coach

The App also comes with a neat Virtual Coach when rowing indoors. The coach is relentlessly observing your every stroke and gives guidance on your rowing rhythm. If you are too slow with your leg drive or too fast with your recovery the coach adds a little red arrow next to the metric, showing in which direction you should change your rhythm. The coach also checks your seat timing and let's you know if you are too early or too late with the seat.

The Coach comes with three different levels: Easy, Moderate, or Challenging. The coach level determines the range of acceptable values for your seat timing, your seat rhythm, rowing rhythm, and for how long you stay at backstop. Note that if you are a coach and want to define what the acceptable levels should be yourself then the limits can be tuned based on your own preferences.

The metrics

You can choose to see four or eight metrics (set this in Settings) in real time or to also see graphs showing the handle and seat speed in real time. Swipe left to see the blue handle and the red seat speed graphs. The speed is positive during drive and negative during recovery. When the curve crosses zero the handle/seat are stationary.

The eight default metrics are the following:

  • SPM= Strokes per minute
  • Stroke length (m)
  • Handle max (m/s)= the maximum handle speed during the drive (this is the highest point the blue curve reaches during one stroke)
  • Seat max (m/s)= the maximum seat speed during the drive (the highest point the red curve reaches during one stroke)
  • Seat stopped (%)= the percentage of time  that the seat is stationary during one full stroke. This the period when the red curve is zero between drive and recovery
  • Rhyhtm (%)= some people call this Ratio. It is the percentage of time of the drive time over the full stroke time
  • Seat rhythm (%)= the percentage of time that the seat is moving during the drive over the full stroke. The smaller this number is the sharper your leg push is.
  • Seat timing (1/100s)= the time difference between the seat and the handle drive start. If the seat starts before the handle this number is positive.

Recording indoor rowing on the C2

You can record your rowing on the C2 by pressing start. Once you're finished press the back button and go back to the main screen and press the folder icon. From there you can upload your session to the web portal for closer analysis.

Compare the rowing technique of different rowers in the Quiske webportal

The above sample shows two rowers both rowing at stroke rate 18. One rower is green and the other blue, the solid line shows their handle speed and the dotted line is their seat speed.

 

Some analysis: The green rower starts his seat earlier than the blue rower as can be seen at the right hand side of the graph. The blue rower has a more front loaded drive whereas the green rower accelerates his drive towards the finish. The seat and the handle should follow a similar gradient at catch because if they follow different paths it means that either the back is opening too early or there is bum shoving. Both rowers have fast hands away. The blue rower has a more even recovery with the handle moving at almost constant speed for the majority of the recovery. The green rower moves his handle quicker at the start of the recovery, then almost pauses the handle before making a quick movement with his hands just before the catch.

 

It is interesting and useful to compare the indoor rowing technique of different rowers. As a coach you can work on synchronizing crew technique indoors in order to make the boat move more efficiently on water.

Measuring rowing rhythm on the RP3

Our last RowP App update added support for dynamic indoor rowing (RP3 and C2 on slides). Do make sure you choose the RP3 as boat type and then place the RowP pod on the RP3 body with the handle facing towards the rower. We do not yet measure the seat of the RP3 (it doesn't move that much anyway).

Check this video for a quick introduction on how to measure rowing technique on the RP3:

The metrics measured on the RP3 are slightly different to those of the C2 and they are:

  • SPM= Strokes per minute
  • Stroke length (m)
  • Handle max (m/s)= the maximum handle speed during the drive (this is the highest point the blue curve reaches during one stroke)
  • Legs max (m/s)= the maximum speed fo the RP3 body during the drive (the highest point the red curve reaches during one stroke)
  • Legs stopped (%)= the percentage of time at backstops during one full stroke. This the period when the red curve is zero between drive and recovery.
  • Rhythm (%)= some people call this Ratio. It is the percentage of time of the drive time over the full stroke time
  • Legs rhythm (%)= the percentage of time of leg drive over the full stroke. The smaller this number is the sharper your leg push is.
  • Seat timing (1/100s)= the time difference between the seat and the handle drive start. If the seat starts before the handle this number is positive.

The RP3 support is a new addition to our app and we love all feedback.

Btw, at the moment dynamic indoor rowing sessions cannot be recorded which means the data cannot be analyzed in the web portal.

Oh, I made one interesting finding yesterday. I hadn't measured myself on the Concept2 for a long time since I moved to training only on the RP3 a month or so back. It seems training on the RP3 has made my leg push sharper (my seat rhythm metric is lower than before). Is this a coincidence or do others have similar findings?

PS. Hope you have time to do some good training before Christmas still. I'm planning on doing half a marathon on the RP3 this weekend.

 

Kristina

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