Every coach in rowing uses the score of the stationary popular rowing machine to measure the level of fitness of their rowers, I used to do that too. The reason is because this stationary machine is available everywhere and has been around long enough that everyone involved in rowing can understand what those splits mean and how they can relate to fitness for rowing. So why don’t I use the split anymore or need the split to measure fitness on the rowers I coach?
Because I use the Rowperfect3 which uses a software that gives me the same splits that I will get on the water. Why?
Here are 6 simple reasons:
1- The Rowperfect3 feels very similar to what you feel on the water. It is dynamic like rowing on the water, so the numbers you get will demonstrate how your fitness can be applied to move a boat.
2- You can get stroke rates, length of the stroke, the timing, peak force, and the acceleration like on the water.
3- The Split you get from the software of the Rowperfect3 can be weight adjusted so you can get what will be real on the water for your body weight. If you are light, to push your own weight will be easier than if you are heavier.
4- The split you get can be adjusted to the event you are racing in. So if you are training and racing on an 8+ you can get the splits for an 8+. Same if you are racing in a 1x.
5- You get a power curve for each stroke that shows how you are getting the split. It will show how you work every part of the stroke, and exactly where your weaknesses are and where you are disconnected.
6- You can connect a few machines together and race or train connected like you will do on an 8+. You can then test individually your ability to move the boat while being connected to the crew like you will be on the water.
Testing on a dynamic machine that feels like the water assures water speed:
Testing stationary is gathering a completely different set of data that will not result in the fastest crew.
If you row in a team boat testing rowers individually without being connected doesn’t assure what they will be able to produce in the crew boat: If you race in the middle of an 8+ following a stroke and at rate 34, You should also test on the land connected to that stroke and at rate 34, even if you cannot get your best score, because this is what you will add to your crew on the water.
On the Rowperfect3 you can race the 2000m in the event you are training for. This means, if you race the men’s 1x at your body weight on the water and after that on the rowperfect3, you will get the same result or very close. If you race 2000 meters on a stationary erg your time will be shorter.
With the rowers I have coached, I’ve seen their focus shift from the stationary machine splits (which are not directly related to water speed) to only the splits they see on the water. The same splits are given when rowing on the Rowperfect3. Therefore with the RowPerfect3 when rowers (and coaches) obsess with getting better numbers they will immediately see a speed gain on the water, not just an increase of fitness on a stationary erg.