November Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter

Another rowing biomechanics newsletter has come out since our last link to Dr. Kleshnev's site.

For those new to the site check out our interview with Dr. Kleshnev, creator of this excellent resource.

The latest issue deals with a rigging survey from the last World Championships. The article is probably worthy of a longer post when I get a chance but the most interesting point is that in several events, including the M8+ and W8+ and M2- there was "quite a high negative correlation" between gearing and final placing in the regatta. In other words crews rowing with a heavier rig tended to place higher in the competition. These correlations don't look like the sort that a scientist would see as "statistically significant" but they do seem to reveal something. And after all - usually there is no "statisticaly" significant difference between 1st and 4th place - but ask the athletes how significant the difference is! Trends such as this are important for sport scientists to keep on top of as they do tell us something and can lead to new research and recommendations for athletes.

Does this mean go out and change you rig to a heavier load? No - not at all. Just be aware and consider the implications. How does this information relate to your crew's fitness, strength and technique? The style you row could also affect how you choose to rig. Of course there are exceptions to a "correlation"- Dr. Kleshnev's graph shows that the crew with the heaviest load in the M8+ finsihed in 7th place so a correlation is not a rule. Also, correlations do not imply causation necessarily. All that is needed is something that affects both rig and placing to be in play. For example, bigger stronger athletes might go faster and also choose to use a heavier rig and their results would make it look like the heavy rig made them go fast, rather than their strength and fitness.

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