Rowing Power Curves and World Championships Video

I have been reading Carlos Dinares’ blog recently and was intrigued by his post on the ideal rowing power curve after coaching some CrossFitters at CrossFit Ignite on how to use the power curve feature on the Concept2.  Granted, the C2 static erg is a blunt instrument at best, but it introduces an interesting question about how the best in the world apply power and length in their rowing strokes.

I looked at the videos from the 2011 World Rowing Championships for the men’s single sculls and the men’s pair, won by men (Mahe Dysdale in the single and Eric Murray in the pair) who have legitimate potential claims to be the fittest people on earth by any standard Smile  The difference I noticed was that the top rowers in the pair reach traditional “full length” with the shins vertical, while both Drysdale and Synek in the single seem to be rowing at 3/4 slide but still achieving an optimal power curve.  I have read analysis that Drysdale’s torso flexibility makes it possible for him to achieve maximum length without using the full slide, but the question remains why the top 2 boats in the single final appear to be achieving maximum speed at 3/4 slide while the top tow boats in the pair, rowing at similar stroke ratings, use the full slide length.  What does this say, if anything, about optimal indoor rowing technique, which is traditionally correlated with maximum length on the slide?

If Carlos, Xeno, or Shane are reading this, I’d appreciate your opinions – thanks.

Regardless of the question, these videos are simply amazing to watch, considering that the times achieved in these races would be respectable for most college eights in the US.

Men’s Single Scull final:

Men’s single final, 2011 World Rowing Championships


Men’s Pair final:

Men’s pair final, 2011 World Rowing Championships

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