Carlos’s Tip #264: Power to Weight Ratio in ROWING

Power to weight ratio (PWR) is the power that a person generates (their strength) divided by their body weight. It is the ability to generate the greatest force and aerobic power, in the most efficient manner. A person can raise their power to weight ratio by becoming lighter, while maintaining or improving muscular strength.

Body weight reduction can have a negative impact on your power to weight ratio. Simply focusing on weight loss without focusing on activities to improve muscular strength, can and will negatively impact your performance. The focus of your training and weight management program should be changing your body composition. That is, decreasing body fat without losing any lean mass. Measuring your body weight on a scale may not be enough to determine improvements to your strength to weight ratio. Checking and monitoring your body composition (body fat percentage) is a key component to determining if the weight changes you experience are positive or negative.
One you have identified a training program that will stimulate lean muscle mass, it is important to consider how you will feed your muscles and preserve your hard work without over doing it and storing unwanted fat. Remember that the food that you eat counts and the timing of your meals is very important.

Improving your power to weight ratio is really a combined effort between diet and training. Some athletes, those that are already lean, may need to focus on improving their PWR by increasing their lean muscle mass. This will result in positive weight gain. Other athletes may need to focus on improving their PWR by reducing body fat. This may result in losing a few pounds.

We know that in rowing the drag increase for every 1kg of extra dead weight per rower can decrease the boat speed by 0.19% or about 0.7s slower over a 2k race in 6:00. Valery Kleshnev Feb.2009 Rowing biomechanics Newsletters.

I don’t think coaches are aware of the huge impact of extra dead weight of their rowers. It is totally clear how much a boat slow downs over 2000 meters for each kg of extra dead weight on a rowing boat.

In this video you can see how lean is Mahe drysdale after winning the 2011 World championships compare to the other video. Is he looking a lot more close to his Power to Weight Ratio? Do you see any difference?

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