Inverted Bodyweight Row Variations – By Will Ruth
The Low Back Pain Experience – By Blake Gourley
Key Technical Factors for Boat Speed – By Joe DeLeo
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Youdas, J., Keith, J., Nonn, D., Squires, A., & Hollman, J. (2016). Activation of spinal stabilizers and shoulder complex muscles during an inverted row using a portable pull-up device and body weight resistance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(7).
Researchers studied the muscle activation levels of 13 men and 13 women performing four different variations of the inverted bodyweight row exercise. They found high overall muscle activation in the back, shoulders, and arms in all variations, with a few differences. The inverted bodyweight row offers numerous benefits for rowers as a low-equipment exercise to strengthen the back, shoulder, and arm muscles with low loading on the lumbar spine.
Wilson, F., Ng, L., O’Sullivan, K., Caneiro, J., O’Sullivan, P., Horgan, A., Thornton, J., Wilkie, K., Timonen, V. (2021). ‘You’re the best liar in the world’: a grounded theory study of rowing athletes’ experience of low back pain. British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers interviewed 25 adult rowers, 13 male, and 12 female, on their personal experience with low back pain caused by rowing. Rowers have a tendency to hide their pain from their coaches, teammates, and medical team, because of trust issues, fear of judgment, fear of loss, and their perception of the rowing culture. Coaches, support staff, and rowers can change rowing culture for the better by enhancing communication and the response to injury, ultimately improving rowing performance and athlete retention.
Holt, A., Aughey, R., Ball, K., Hopkins, W., & Siegel, R. (2020). Technical determinants of on-water rowing performance. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 2.
Researchers collected race data from 17 female and 14 male national-level rowers across forty-seven, 2,000-meter races. The researchers found that faster rowers over 2,000-meters performed with higher stroke rates, greater peak and average force, and greater catch angles. Rowers and coaches can use the results from this study to focus on the technical and physiological aspects that best translate to boat speed: greater catch angles, higher stroke rates, and rate of force development in the rower.
About Science of Rowing
“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-and-strength coaches: Will Ruth, Blake, Gourley, and Joe DeLeo. Our goal is to move research into practice for coaches and rowers of all ages, types, and levels. We are entirely member-funded and do not promote products or sell advertisements. Members receive one issue each month containing three reviews of recent and applicable research in rowing training, strength training for rowing, and other relevant performance areas like psychology, injury analysis, technology, and more.
Each issue includes video and graphic content to help move the knowledge into practice, as well as a podcast episode of the three of us discussing the takeaways and our experiences. Membership includes access to all prior issues, so join us for one month and get access to every issue. We also offer discounted annual and team memberships, as well as gift memberships for a special rower or coach in your life.