Movement Analysis of Scull and Oar Rowing

  • Patria A. Hume
Reference work entry


Rowing coaches ask “What is an ideal rowing technique?” and “How can biomechanics help me improve technique in my rower?”. This chapter discusses biomechanical variables that have been shown to help predict boat velocity, and how biomechanists can provide profiling of body kinematics (joint angles, segment velocities and segmental sequencing, drive to recovery ratios) and forces (handle, pin/oar, and feet). Rower movement has traditionally been assessed on ergometers using power output and two-dimensional high-speed video or optoelectronic systems to provide joint angles and segment velocities. Advances in technology have seen the use of three-dimensional video, force plates at the foot-stretchers, strain gauges at the pins and oars, pressure sensors at the seat and feet, electromyography, computer simulations/modelling, inertial sensors, and instrumented rowing boats (i.e., pitch, yaw, roll, velocity), for rowing technique analyses. The greater use of customized telemetered sensors on the rowing skiff can assist the coach and biomechanist with judging when performance (skiff velocity) improves with a training intervention. Biomechanical variables can be measured and feedback presented in real-time on-water. Proper proximal to distal sequencing of joint rotations is important in the production of high power output in rowing technique. The biomechanist must be able to measure rowing performance technique and outcome variables reliably and with accuracy/sensitivity, so feedback can be given to rowers and coaches on what needs to be the focus of technique improvement. This chapter focuses on how biomechanics technologies are applied to improve performance and help prevent injury in rowing.


Boat velocity Body kinematics Drive-to-recovery ratio Ergometer Feet force Force profiles Handle force Inertial sensors Injury prevention Joint angles Performance Pin/oar force Power output Real-time feedback Rowing Segment velocities Segmental sequencing Strain gauges Stroke rate Technique Telemetered sensors 



Thanks are given to Dr. Clara Soper for providing Fig. 1 from her Sports Medicine paper that I adapted for this text book. Thanks are given to Dr. Sarah Kate Millar for getting photos taken of herself on ergometers and on-water for Fig. 2. Thanks are given to Dr. Jennie Coker for providing Fig. 3 on pin force profiles contributed from her PhD thesis (Coker 2010) toward this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Auckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gert-Peter Brüggemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biomechanics and OrthopaedicsGerman Sport University CologneKölnGermany

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