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The Physics of Rowing Faster

A new video from the Physics of Life series about the physics of rowing.

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Thanks to Charles Carroll on RSR for spotting this video from the Physics of Life series about the physics of rowing. Even this video is a few years ago, it is still interesting how Scott Turner explains the rowing stroke. Still years have gone by…

The Physics of Rowing Faster (by Dr Scott Turner)

  • Thrust is intermittent and during a competitive race the loss of speed [on the recovery] can spell the difference between winning and losing
  • The boat forward speed is maintained or even increased during the return stroke [recovery] by the movement of the athlete’s body
  • The combined momentum of an 8 person crew only works to increase the speed of the hull if the movements of the team are strongly synchronised
  • This synchronisation is the job of the coxswain.  Although she is effectively parasite weight and contributes no power, ensuring the rowers remain co-ordinated pays for itself ensuring the best momentum recovery during the return stroke.

Full video: The Physics of Rowing Faster:

If you are concerned with any or all of these ways to improve your boat speed you may want to consider the following products to assist you with the four points above.

  • Coxmate SX to see average speed over each stroke cycle
  • Coxmate SX impeller with analysis software to see speed changes during the recovery and Rowperfects linked together to co-ordinate body movements in the recovery
  • Rowperfects linked together to co-ordinate body movements
  • Coxswain audio guide to hear what top coxes say to their crews during races
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

One thought on “The Physics of Rowing Faster

  1. Short and to the point explaining something that is very complex. Well done. As a lightweight rower over many years we feel when the crew is in sync and when out. As a sculler I try and do the same to get maximum boat speed by being as efficient as possible.

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