Modelling the determinants of 2000 m rowing ergometer performance: a proportional, curvilinear allometric approach

Scand J Med Sci Sports 2011: 21: 73–78

Previous studies have investigated the determinants of indoor rowing using correlations and linear regression.

However, the power demands of ergometer rowing are proportional to the cube of the ﬂywheel’s (and boat’s) speed.

A rower’s speed, therefore, should be proportional to the cube root (0.33) of power expended. Hence, the purpose of

the present study was to explore the relationship between 2000 m indoor rowing speed and various measures of power

of 76 elite rowers using proportional, curvilinear allometric models. The best single predictor of 2000 m rowing erg-

ometer performance was power at VO2max (WVO2max )0.28, that explained R2 5 95.3% in rowing speed. The model

realistically describes the greater increment in power re-quired to improve a rower’s performance by the same

amount at higher speeds compared with that at slower speeds. Furthermore, the ﬁtted exponent, 0.28 (95% con-

ﬁdence interval 0.226–0.334) encompasses 0.33, supporting the assumption that rowing speed is proportional to the cube root of power expended. Despite an R2 5 95.3%, the initial model was unable to explain ‘‘sex’’ and ‘‘weight-class’’

diﬀerences in rowing performances. By incorporating anae-robic as well as aerobic determinants, the resulting curvi-

linear allometric model was common to all rowers,irrespective of sex and weight class.