Sports Medicine

, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 2703–2714 | Cite as

Over 50 Years of Researching Force Profiles in Rowing: What Do We Know?

  • John WarmenhovenEmail author
  • Stephen Cobley
  • Conny Draper
  • Richard Smith
Review Article


There has been substantial interest in the mechanisms underpinning the skilled movements of on-water rowing for more than 150 years. Contemporary attention from biomechanical research has focused on the important relationship between kinetics (such as force application at the oar) and performance. A range of instrumentation systems have been developed and used in both academic and applied training contexts to better understand this relationship. Both qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches have been used in conjunction with these instrumentation systems for observing differences in propulsive force patterns between rowers. Despite the use of these analytical approaches, there is still limited consensus surrounding which characteristics of force profiles are associated with better rowing performance. Newell’s model of constraints is provided as a framework for understanding why this lack of clarity exists surrounding force profile characteristics and performance. Further to this, direction for further research is provided by a framework that outlines two main streams: (1) exploration of constraints and how they are related to force profile characteristics; and (2) after controlling for constraints, exploration of performance and how it is related to force profile characteristics. These two steps are sequential, with an understanding of constraints influencing how we understand the interaction of force profiles and performance.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

John Warmenhoven, Stephen Cobley, Conny Draper and Richard Smith declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Warmenhoven
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen Cobley
    • 1
  • Conny Draper
    • 1
  • Richard Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Exercise and Sports Science, Faculty of Health SciencesThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia

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