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How to measure foot stretcher depth for single scull

I’m 168cm tall, 57kg and flexible. How do I determine what the stretcher depth should be for the … read more

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I’m 168cm tall, 57kg and flexible. How do I determine what the stretcher depth should be for the boat I’m buying?

I am taking your question about stretcher depth to mean the distance from the top of the seat to the bottom of the heel of the inside of the shoe.

If you can find a boat which allows 15 – 18 cm height variation in that measurement you should be absolutely fine.

As a flexible athlete, you can probably row with your feet higher than most (as long as you can get your shins vertical at the catch).

For small singles (lightweights) the height variation you can achieve may only be up to 16-17 cms.   For men the the height can be up to 19 cms.

If this doesn’t suit your needs because you’re particularly tall or have long shins – you may need a seat pad or a modified (raised) seat.

But broadly, you want to get to a shins vertical at the catch (full compression) position and the foot stretcher position is how you adjust the boat set-up to achieve that.

Any other suggestions from our readers?

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe
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4 thoughts on “How to measure foot stretcher depth for single scull

  1. Stretcher depth / seat height is not only about vertical shins. If you ar flexible, as you say you are, you will be able to achieve vertical shins with a range of different stretcher depths, but only one depth will be right for you.
    At the right stretcher depth, sitting in the catch position, you should have your shins vertical, your heels slightly lifted from the stretcher, with an ankle angle near 90 degrees, and your thighs at about 50 degrees from horizontal.
    With these guidelines you should be able to find your own optimal stretcher depth.

  2. If you look at most top single scullers, male and female, very few of them actually get their shins upright at the catch. The higher you have your feet, the more efficient and effective the leg drive will be, but the higher they are, the less stable you will feel at the catch, so you need to experiment to get the positioning exactly right. Ideally the heals should only be slightly raised, but if you can keep them in contact, (more flexible athletes), then the leg drive will be stronger. The angle of the stretcher is also an important factor in achieving this. As a lightweight woman, I would suggest you start with your heels at 16 cm. and experiment from that starting point.

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