Carlos Dinares Tip #332: ROWING POWER CURVE

Hi Carlos, I have a bit of a technical question for you. Do you think the power curve through the water and on the row perfect should be different based on whether you are sweeping or sculling? For example, if you are in an 8 should your peak power be earlier compared to if you are in a single, double or quad? And do you think that there should be a difference in that power curve between men and women?


That is a good question.
Let’s start by understanding that when you row on the rowperfect you are learning to find the right way to coordinate your body with the rowing machine to get the most efficient power application. You will achieve that when you get the better split at any given rate with a given Lactate level. To understand the lactate level, it is understood that if you are able to give a split A at a certain lactate level at a given rate, you will prove more fitness when you keep the same split A and the same rate and the lactate level is lower. Or you give a better split with the same lactate level and stroke rate.
Ok said that it is important to understand that the ideal power curve is the one that will give you the better split at a given lactate level on the water. A good power curve gets you closer to efficient rowing and efficient rowing gets you a better split with less effort.
Now the question is:
Do you think the power curve through the water and on the row perfect should be different based on whether you are sweeping or sculling?
The power curve on sweep or sculling boats follows the same principals. It is the power you get on the pin when you lever the blade against the water, agaisnt the handle. To reach that you need to lever the handle against the footstretcher.
When I coach on the rowperfect3 power application I teach simple coordination of the stroke. The principals of coordination ad power application are the same for any boat class, sweep and sculling. I teach connection, coordination and efficiency. To do that I use the Joules x stroke data, the peak force position and the length of stroke. Rowers with practice and good repetitions develop a rowing body that can produce a good power curve.
It is a question of focus, attention, good coaching and repetition. It is not rocket science. Eventually any rower with the right tool, good instruction and plenty of good repetition achieves the right rowing coordination.
To do that I have the rower row at low rate and with a heavy drag factor to slow things down.
When I have developed a balanced body and good coordination and a good power curve that will be peaking at 50% and always going out and thick and big, I can move to develop a more similar curve to the boat they are going to race.

We know that the slower boat is the 1x. After that we have the 2-, 2x and 4- and finally the 4x and the 8+. If we check the drive times of these different events at race pace we can see that the slower even has the longer drive time and the fastest bat the shorter drive time. This is a data that we can take to the Rowperfect3. If we are racing on a 1x we know that we will have a longer drive time, that means that we will have a higher drag factor. If we race on an 8+ we are going to have a lighter drag factor. Also we know that the lighter is the drag factor and the shorter the drive time the harder is to keep your body weight suspended all the way trough the drive and because of that the harder to peak on the curve later. Also we know that the fastest the boat the more effect of a front loaded drive and this also makes the peak force position move closer to the front of the curve.
To give some clear ideas here what I’m saying is that the curve will look different as you play with the drive time, stroke rate and drag factor. The curve needs to always go out. Depending on how you are build and where do you find strengths in your body will also have some effect on the shape of your curve.
Said that I like everybody to start with a heavy drag, a low rate and trying to peak at 50%. When they are able to produce a perfect curve like that peaking at 50%, then i start increasing the challenge b getting a lighter load and increasing the stroke rate. Also increasing the intensity makes hard to sustain good coordination and mistakes on the power curve are much easier to show up.
Do you think the power curve through the water and on the row perfect should be different based on whether you are sweeping or sculling? For example, if you are in an 8 should your peak power be earlier compared to if you are in a single, double or quad? And do you think that there should be a difference in that power curve between men and women?
The answer is I should do the same for everyone at the beginning of the season. Like if all were rowing on a 1x. Low rate, heavy drag factor and peaking at 50%. As the season moves on, I will start reducing the drag on some workouts and increasing the rate. I will match the drive time n the water for the boat I’m going to race at the one on the rowperfect3 (The drive time time is a field that the software gives you).
Yes if you are doing pieces at race pace at the drive time of an 8+ you will be picking at 35% – 38% of your power curve. If you are on a 1x it will be 45% to 50%.
The other events and on the middle numbers from 35% to 50%.
Power curve on women normally show less power on the second part of the stroke. Women have proportionally more power on their legs, glutes than on their upper body. This will be clear on the power curve. Women are more front loaded and peak earlier in general than men. It is a question of power and strength.

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