Rowing ergometers as an aide to on-water training pros and cons

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Ivan Hooper from Australian Institute of Sport gave this presentation about the advantages and disadvantages of training on ergos. They don't replicate the water well, sliders and variable K drag factors and ratings don't match water boat rates.

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Rowing ergometers as an aide to on-water training pros and cons

  1. 1. The Rowing Ergometer; It’s Relevance to Training and Testing Ivan Hooper M.Phty.St (Sports), B.Sc (HMS) AIS Sports Physiotherapist & RA SSSM Coordinator
  2. 2. Relevance to Training and Testing 1. Discussion of some fundamentals about the rowing ergometer 2. Presentation of Drag Factor study results 3. Advice & recommendations I AM NOT HERE TO TELL YOU TO STOP USING THE ERGOMETER!
  3. 3. The Rowing Ergometer Does it accurately reflect what happens on water? – Kleshnev (2001, 2003, 2005) lists six key differences 1. Stroke rate is always 10-15% lower * 2. The stroke length is 3-5% longer * 3. Handle force has a higher peak and develops later 4. Handle and footstretcher forces nearly equal as opposed to footstretcher force on water being 30% higher 5. Difference in the timing of stretcher and handle forces * 6. Maximal legs velocity is lower on an ergometer * * a dynamic ergometer significantly alters or eliminates this difference “Rowers with fast legs produce more power on water, while athletes with slower legs and stronger upper bodies have relatively higher ergo scores”
  4. 4. Fixed vs Dynamic Ergometers
  5. 5. Men’s Coxless Four
  6. 6. The rowing ergometer • While static ergometers may have been useful for training physical fitness, they may also adversely alter the coordination of the muscles used in on water rowing. (Elliot, 2002)
  7. 7. Fixed vs Dynamic Ergometers • Bernstein et al, 2002 – Athletes rowed average 53mm longer on a fixed ergometer – As pieces progressed, there was an increase in stroke length at the catch on a fixed ergometer – The mean forces developed during the power phase were significantly higher with the fixed ergometer • Colloud et al, 2006 – Rowing on a dynamic ergometer seems to require different muscular coordination to produce external force contact patterns – The lower catch and maximum values for external contact forces on a dynamic ergometer could decrease the risk factors for injuries
  8. 8. Ergometer Use and Low Back Pain • Teitz et al, 2002 – Ergometer training for longer than 30 mins was the most significant and consistent predictor of back pain for all age groups • Holt et al 2003 – 5% increase in lumbar flexion during a one hour ergometer at training intensities – Attributed to fatigue of the lumbar muscles • Reid & McNair, 2000 – The combination of lumbar flexion and muscular fatigue has long been identified as a cause of lumbar spine injury amongst rowers
  9. 9. Ergometer Use and Low Back Pain • Bernstein et al, 2002 – In elite rowers, land based training carries a 10-fold higher risk of injury per hour than water based training, the leading causes suggested being weights and ergometer training • Wilson et al, 2008 – Time spent ergometer training had the most significant impact on injury risk – This confirms biomechanical observations that the loading to the joints in ergometer sessions is different to the patterns seen on water – Nov, Dec & Jan highest months for injuries and this is related to high volumes of land training during winter months
  10. 10. If we can confidently say that the ergometer is not the same as on water rowing, and that it is clearly linked to injury, isn’t it time we did something about it?
  11. 11. The effect of manipulating drag factor and Concept II sliders on stroke rate Scott Coleman1, Margy Galloway1, Ivan Hooper2, Angela McCoombe1, Mark Osbourne3 1. Biomechanics Dept, Australian Institute of Sport 2. Physical Therapies Dept, Australian Institute of Sport 3. Sports Science, Queensland Academy of Sport
  12. 12. Background • Ergometer testing is often completed at stroke rates well below on water race pace • Many athletes report the current drag factor (DF) settings feel too heavy • Many coaches now prescribe ergometer training at lower DF’s • There is increased interest in using the Concept II sliders as training tools
  13. 13. What Do Crews Rate? 2007 World Championships Class SR Class SR M8+ 40 W8+ 39.1 M4- 40.5 W4x 37.4 M4x 39.3 W2x 35.9 M2x 38.2 W2- 37.4 M2- 38.8 W1x 34.1 M1x 36.3 LW2x 36.1 LM4- 40.6 LM2x 38.8
  14. 14. The Current Situation • What are the current settings? • Where did these come from? Category Drag Factor HM 130 HW 120 LM 120 LW 110
  15. 15. Study Concept • Small study designed to add some knowledge to the following questions: – Are the current drag factor settings appropriate? – What effect do Concept II sliders have on stroke rate? – Can we manipulate DF +/- sliders to get stroke rate closer to on water race rates? – Are Concept II sliders a reliable form of testing?
  16. 16. On Water vs Ergometer? • Can we compare forces? • Assumption – If we manipulate variables to get rate similar to on water racing, then forces must be close to similar
  17. 17. Study • 7 x 500m pieces at variable drag factors – 3 @ 80% 2000m PB wattage – 4 @ 100% 2000m PB wattage • Manipulation of DF outlined below • Testing order was randomised for each subject • Done on fixed Concept II and on Sliders one week apart Study Settings DF 1 DF 2 DF 3 HM 130 115 100 HW 120 105 90 LM 120 105 90 LW 110 100 90
  18. 18. Subjects Study Subjects Category No Crew HM 4a Olympic Men's 4- 1 Sen A Men's 2+ 4 U/23 Men's 4x HW 4b U/23 Women's 4- 4 WUG Women’s 2x, 4- LW 3 Sen A Women's LW4x a) 1 athlete completed both sessions on sliders, 1 athlete didn’t do sliders b) 1 athlete didn’t complete sliders
  19. 19. Results • Mean rates for current settings Study Results Category Group mean HM 29.8 HW 28.4 LW 31.3 WC Results Sculling Sweep 36.3 (17.9%) 38.8 (23.2%) 34.1 (16.7%) 37.4 (24.1%) 36.1 (13.3%) WC Results Sculling Sweep 36.3 (17.9%) 38.8 (23.2%) 34.1 (16.7%) 37.4 (24.1%) 36.1 (13.3%)
  20. 20. Results Sub Max Dynamic Ergo 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 DF1 DF2 DF3 StrokeRate(spm) HMA HMB HWB HWUG LWA Sub Max Fixed Ergo 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 DF1 DF2 DF3 StrokeRate(spm) HMA HMB HWB HWUG LWA
  21. 21. Results Dynamic Race Pace 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 DF1 DF2 DF3 StrokeRate(spm) HM HW LW Fixed Race Pace 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 DF1 DF2 DF3 StrokeRate(spm) HM HW LW
  22. 22. Results • Most athletes subjectively reported that they found the lightest setting too light compared to the feel of “on water rowing” Combined FE vs DE 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 FE DF1 DE DF2 StrokeRate(spm) HM A HM B HWB HWUG LWA
  23. 23. Results Comparative Data Category WC Sculling WC Sweep Fixed Ergo Current Drag (DF1) Fixed Ergo Lighter Drag (DF 2) Dynamic Ergo Lighter Drag (DF 2) HM 36.3 38.8 29.8 30.23 36.4 HW 34.1 37.4 28.4 29.82 35 LW 36.1 31.3 29.75 31.3
  24. 24. Results • Error measurements • Well within current accepted error measurements for stationary ergometer Time % Fixed 0.4 sec 0.4 Dynamic 0.58 sec 0.58
  25. 25. Recommendations • Change to the following DF’s • Test on sliders • Train on sliders Category Drag Factor HM 115 HW 105 LM 105 LW 100
  26. 26. Thanks To: • All the subjects • Tim Conrad • Ellen Randell • Lincoln Handley • Peter Howard • Alan Bennett • Phil Gardiner & Sykes Racing
  27. 27. What Would Change? • Marsden, 2006 – Comparison between physiological variables on fixed vs slider Concept II – No differences in curves, thresholds, peak metabolic data (n=4) – Mean 4.6 secs quicker on sliders (n=11) – Mean 5.3 points higher in rate on sliders (n=11) • Mahony et al, 1999 – No physiological differences during incremental rowing on a fixed and dynamic ergometer • Kane et al, 2008 – No significant differences in physiological variables with altering drag factors
  28. 28. What Would Change? • Perhaps a test that is more predictive of on water performance?? • A training tool that may be closer to enhancing the correct skill pattern?? • Likely decrease in low back injury rates!!
  29. 29. Reference List 1. Bernstein, I. A., O. Webber, et al. (2002). "An ergonomic comparison of rowing machine designs: possible implications for safety." Br J Sports Med 36(2): 108-12. 2. Colloud, F., P. Bahuaud, et al. (2006). "Fixed versus free-floating stretcher mechanism in rowing ergometers: Mechanical aspects." Journal of Sports Sciences 24(5): 479 - 493. 3. Dudhia, A. (1999). "The physics of rowing: dynamic vs static ergometers." from http://www.atm.ox.ac.uk/rowing/physics/index.html. 4. Elliott, B., A. Lyttle, et al. (2002). "The RowPerfect ergometer: a training aid for on-water single scull rowing." Sports Biomechanics 1(2): 123-134. 5. Hollinger, N. R., I. Marchand, et al. (1995). A comparison of kinematic and kinetic performance among athletes during ergometer rowing. Aviron Canada Rowing. 1995: 9-13. 6. Holt, P. J. E., A. M. J. Bull, et al. (2003). "Kinematics of Spinal Motion During Prolonged Rowing." International Journal of Sports Medicine(8): 597-602. 7. Howell, D. W. (1984). "Musculoskeletal profile and incidence of musculoskeletal injuries in lightweight women rowers." Am J Sports Med 12(4): 278-82. 8. Kane, D. A., R. L. Jensen, et al. (2008). "Effects of Drag Factor on Physiological Aspects of Rowing." International Journal of Sports Medicine(5): 390-394. 9. Kelshnev, V. (2003). Discussion of ergometer rowing vs on water rowing. Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter. 3: 1. 10. Kelshnev, V. (2005). Discussion of ergometer rowing vs on water rowing. Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter. 5: 1. 11. Kleshnev, V. (2001). Discussion of ergometer rowing vs on water rowing. Rowing Biomechanics Newsletter. 1: 1. 12. Lamb, D. H. (1989). "A kinematic comparison of ergometer and on-water rowing." Am J Sports Med 17(3): 367-73. 13. Mahony, N., B. Donne, et al. (1999). "A comparison of physiological responses to rowing on friction-loaded and air- braked ergometers." J Sports Sci 17(2): 143-9. 14. Marsden, J. (2006). 2 in 1 Results: Slider vs fixed Concept II. NSWIS Rowing Coaches Workshop. Sydney. 15. Reid, D. A. and P. J. McNair (2000). "Factors contributing to low back pain in rowers." Br J Sports Med 34(5): 321-2. 16. Rumball, J. S., C. M. Lebrun, et al. (2005). "Rowing injuries." Sports Med 35(6): 537-55. 17. Teitz, C. C., J. O'Kane, et al. (2002). "Back pain in intercollegiate rowers." Am J Sports Med 30(5): 674-9. 18. Wilson, F., C. Gissane, et al. (2008). "A 12 month prospective cohort study of injury in international rowers." Br J Sports Med.

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