Tag Archives: terminology

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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Terminology : RICE (Injuries)

24 May

What?

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

 

When?

RICE is an acronym referring to the treatment used to treat soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, muscle pulls or tears, and should be applied as soon as possible to help prevent complications and help injuries repair faster, and in particular when inflammation is present.

It is also sometimes referred to as PRICE – P standing for Protection.

Where and How?

Rest

The first 24-48 hours of an injury are considered the critical period, and activities which cause pain to the affected area should be minimised during this period.

Without rest, continual strain is placed on the affected area which can lead to increased inflammation, pain and can potentially cause further injury. Resting is important in promoting effective healing, and to avoid abnormal repair.

Using a splint, sling or crutches may help to ensure the injured area receives adequate rest.

It is important to know when to stop, as minor injuries sustained during sporting activities could be minimised by not continuing the exercise at the first sign of injury.

Running off‘ an injury is a misconception, and NOT to be advised! Whilst it may appear possible to continue exercising on an injury immediately after, this can be down to the release of adrenalin and the functioning of nerves. Nerve fibres that respond to mechanical signals such as touch can over-ride the impulses from pain nerve fibres – a theory known as pain gate theory – combine this with other factors such as an athlete’s mentality to override the pain – ultimately an athlete can actually make an injury much worse. In this case, it is better to swallow your pride and stop short, than carry on and cause greater damage that can put you out of sport for a longer period of time, or in a worst case scenario; completely.

Ice

Ice is a great natural anti-inflammatory treatment – it can limit and reduce the swelling caused by reducing the blood flow to the injured area, and also provides some pain relief to the injury. It decreases the amount of bleeding by vasoconstriction , and reduces the risk of cell death by decreasing the rate of metabolism.

Ice should ideally be applied during the first 48 hours after injury.

Ice the sprain or strain for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours – making sure not to exceed 20 minutes as this can damage the skin and can cause frostbite. Whilst reducing blood flow helps to minimise swelling, icing for too long can also be detrimental to healing – if the blood flow is reduced too much it can stop the delivery of essential nutrients and removal of waste products from the injured area, and so increase the injury period.

Cheap freezer packs can be created using bags of frozen vegetables – peas and sweetcorn work well! – alternatively most chemists sell freezer packs for injuries – these are usually soft gel packs which can be used both to freeze and heat. Keep moving the ice pack around the area during the 20 minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel, to protect the skin.

A good indicator is to allow the skin enough time to fully rewarm before icing the area again.

Compression

Compression helps to limit and reduce swelling, and can also provide pain relief by reducing the edematous swelling from the bodies natural inflammatory process.

Although swelling is inevitable, too much swelling can can cause loss of function, increased pain and restricted blood flow.

An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to wrap an elastic bandage around the swollen part, but making sure not to wrap the area too tight – the fit should be tight, but still allow for expansion when muscles contract and fill with blood. Wrap the area, overlapping the elastic wrap by one-half of the width of the wrap.

Elevate

Elevating injuries help control swelling by reducing the blood flow to the area, and is most effective when the injury is raised above the level of the heart. For example, for an injured ankle, try to lay down with your foot propped on one or two pillows, and is particularly important at night.

Elevation is important as it allows for increased venous return of blood to the systemic circulation – meaning the circulation of blood flow back to the heart, to allow for quicker removal of waste products from the affected area, also resulting in less edema – accumulation of fluids in the body’s tissues.

 

Why?

Applying RICE relieves pain, and can help shorten the period of recovery, to soft-tissue injuries.

It is considered a first-aid treatment, rather than a cure, with the aim being to manage discomfort and internal bleeding.

Following an injury to the body, the body usually reacts with pain and swelling. This is generally as a warning to the body, to let it rest, so as not to further the damage.

During this process the muscles spasm, helping to create a natural splint for the affected area, however this can cause complications with blood flow, and causes further pain – by applying RICE, the body is allowed to rest and recover.

Along with the above treatment, it may be necessary to medicate with painkillers and anti-inflammatories – paracetamol and ibuprofen should be enough in most cases. However remember to check the dosage before medicating.

After the initial 48 hours, most sprains and strains should begin to heal. If pain and or swelling has not started to subside, make sure to see your doctor.

Once healing has begun, light massage can be used to help reduce the formation of scar tissue, and improve the tissue healing, along with gentle stretching to work on the range of motion in the injured area. Heat may also be helpful to increase the blood supply back to the area once the swelling has gone down.

After the injury has healed, you should then move onto exercises to strengthen the area, so as to prevent a repeat injury. Booking an appointment with a physiotherapist may help with the progress of strengthening.

 

 

And finally …

Top tips …

I’d recommend as a good home first-aid kit to keep three gel-packs as a precautionary measure; keep two in the freezer, so that there is at least one freezing whilst one is being used, and a third to be used as a warm compress.

Terminology : Planking

2 May

What?

Planking is an isometric core strength exercise.

Also known as a front hold, hover or abdominal bridge, a plank involves holding a difficult position for extended periods of time.

The front plank is where you use your arms to raise yourself off the floor and hold your body straight and rigid, like a plank of wood. Hence, planking!

 

When?

Planking is often incorporated into core routines because of the effectiveness of the exercise.

The longer you are able to hold the position – provided you hold the position correctly! – the more work your muscles do, and the stronger they become.

With the right routine, (and of course the right diet!) you can work towards those washboard abs with 5 to 10 minutes of planking 2 to 3 times a week.

 

Where?

You don’t require any special equipment to plank – that’s one of the best things about it!

You can literally do it anywhere! Although I’d suggest on a soft/smooth surface, as the force pushing down on your arms/elbows can become uncomfortable over time.

 

Why?

It’s effective and time efficient when done properly!

It tightens the deepest core muscles, by forcing your body to stabilize itself in one position, working the transverse abdominus – the deeper layers of muscle that hold in the the superficial rectus abdominus.

A standard front plank primarily strengthens:

  • abdominals – rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus
  • back – erector spinae

Secondary muscles used in the exercise include:

  • back – trapezius, rhomboids
  • shoulders – deltoids
  • chest – pectorals
  • bottom – glutes
  • legs – quadriceps and gastrocnemius

 

Planks or Crunches?

Planks!

Crunches place too much strain on the lower back, at your back’s weakest point, contributing to poor posture.

 

 

And finally …

Did you know? …

The current world record for the longest held plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 5.01 seconds!

This was set by a 54 year old – proof that it’s a great exercise for people of all ages!

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