Core Training in Rowing: Will Ruth

Textured Insoles for Rowers: Blake Gourley

Injuries in Masters Rowers: Joe DeLeo

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Electromyography and kinematics of the trunk during rowing in elite female rowers. Pollock, C., Jenkyn, T., Jones, I., Ivanova, T., & Garland, J. (2009). Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(3).

Researchers studied nine national team rowers doing a 2k erg test with EMG readings and video biomechanical analysis to better understand how the muscles of the hip and trunk activate and sequence during the drive of the stroke. The results indicate that the early drive phase is characterized by high activity of the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles, while the late drive phase is characterized by high activity of the abdominal muscles acting as a “braking mechanism” on torso swing and reversal into the recovery, with minimal muscular overlap between the two phases. These findings guide our core muscle training by emphasizing the role of hip movement with spinal stability to most closely simulate the demands of the rowing stroke.

Textured insoles affect the plantar pressure distribution while elite rowers perform on an indoor rowing machine. Vieira, T, Botter, A, Gastaldi, L, Sacco, I, Martelli, F, & Giacomozzi, C. (2017). Plos one, 12(11).

Eleven elite rowers performed 30 max pressure strokes at rates 18, 24, and 32. They repeated these trials with a smooth insole (control), an insole with a few bumps (low density), and an insole with more bumps (high density). They found that the high density insole demonstrated greater foot force against the footplate as well as greater contact area between the foot and the footplate. These changes potentially offer several rowing performance benefits for a relatively low cost piece of technology.

Sport injuries in international masters rowers: a cross-sectional study. Smoljanović, T, Bohaček, I, Hannafin, J, Nielsen, H, Hren, D, & Bojanić, I. (2018). Croatian Medical Journal, 59(5).

743 masters rowers participated in a retrospective study to identify the most common injuries for the masters rower (age 27+). The results showed that the lumbar spine continues to be the most common injury site across rowing demographics. In the F+ Age Group (60+) there was a migration of the injury site to the upper body, potentially due loss of strength or a shift in rowing technique. This study informs our approach to reducing rowing injuries in masters rowers with different ages, amounts of experience, and training levels.

About Science of Rowing

“Science of Rowing” is a monthly publication created by three dual rowing-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.