Terminology : Rate (Rowing)

31 May

What?

Rate, or Stroke Rate is the number of strokes you take per minute in rowing, also referred to as spm, s/m or rating.

When?

Stroke Rate is used both in the boat, and on an erg during a piece.

Where?

On an erg, the stroke rate is usually displayed in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and is displayed as a number with s/m.

In a boat, the stroke rate is usually measured using a magnet and sensors attached to the underneath of the stroke seat (or under the bow man’s seat in a bowloaded boat), connected to a cox box. As the rower moves up the slide, a measurement is taken and relayed to the cox box.

 

Why?

Stroke rate is used to measure and monitor intensity.

It is important in competitive rowing, as a high stroke rate could mean that the rowers are being hurried and technique is more likely to suffer, subsequently causing the boat to unbalance.

An unbalanced boat means that not all blades are covered properly by the water, and so collectively displace a smaller amount of water, therefore moving the boat forwards less than that of a perfectly balanced boat.

High rating can also cause a crew to tire quickly, however this depends on the level of fitness of the crew. The higher the level of fitness, the higher the stroke rate can be without negatively affecting the balance or technique.

 

And finally …

Try it for yourself …

A low-rate erg session does not have to mean lower intensity!

The best way to maximise your energy output is to row at a lower intensity for longer.

As a good base-level workout for cardio fitness, lower-rate rowing can be used to focus on power.

Try rowing for 20 to 40 minutes at a stroke rate of 18 to 22 – pushing as hard as you can, but taking your time with the recovery – the fitter you get, the you should see your split-time lower, as you are able to use the oxygen more efficiently and push harder with each stroke. Keep a note of your average split time at the end of your piece, and use this to compare your progress over the weeks.

Rowing at a slow rate can burn as much as 400 calories per hour (dependant on your own bodyweight) – so get off the cross trainer and hop on the erg!

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