low stroke rates

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
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Heaviestuser
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Re: stroke rates

Post by Heaviestuser » June 26th, 2008, 5:55 am

robertk wrote:Heaviestuser, I can't tell you how glad I am to see you here. I thought I was the only one alive to had scores similar to yours....WHO are these folks to can do 6:29 for 2000M??? How did they get that way? How long did it take? That's the forum question I'd love to see answered!
My pleasure

@ Iain,
My personal data:
Weight: 82 kg
Age: 50 yo
Height: 178 cm
Sex: Male

I know nobody at my gym who can row 500m/2:00 with a stroke rate lower than 30 :!: . I am talking about male rowers, who are 20 years younger than I am. One of them has a seasonal best of 7:01 for 2 k.
There are only a few males who can row 500/2:00 for some time ( say 2 k).
So i do not agree with Iain ["if you are a man, unless you are particularly weak then requiring 30SM for 2:00 seems excessive"]. I have to see it - some one rowing 500/2:00 with a stroke rate of 20 - to believe it.

Stll I think Iain has written the best replies in this topic.

Tdekoekkoek also rows his pb @ 30-31/spm. :wink:

@ V5CVBB,
I am always getting into a groove of 30 spm.
This week I 've been practicing slower rates ( 27,28,29 ).
Heaviestuser

Easy does it
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7:40:9 2 K
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michaelb
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Re: Further thoughts for HU

Post by michaelb » June 26th, 2008, 9:09 am

It is nice to see us actually discussing an important rowing topic here on the forum again, we seem to have lost that lately over the past year.
iain wrote: If 2:00 is at 30SPM, to do sub-7 pace at the same power per stroke would require 45SPM and even John's beloved Danish lightweights don't keep that up for a full 2k!
Iain, I am not sure where you got this idea. My guess is from reading about "SPI" on the UK forum, particularly in threads about Ranger and his delusional belief system about SPI. I am pretty sure there is no direct correlation between power (measured in watts) and stroke, so no "objective" truth about SPI at any particular stroke rate and what that could predict about other stroke rates. A sub7 2k takes 300 watts or so, so 50% more power than 2:00 pace, regardless of the stroke rate at either power output.

My view on stroke rate: I think there is a pretty strong consensus about stroke rates on this forum and the UK forum that puts most training rowing stroke rates in the 20-28 range for most people most of the time. So the people posting here rowing at sub18 or 30+ are clearly deviating from that consensus. There may be a place for super low SRs, in the 18 range, and Xeno (gold medalist, runs the Iron Oarsman) for example recommended them in his training plan. But he also clearly had people rowing in the mid ranges too for much of their work. My sense is that anyone rowing longer distances in training at stroke rates in the mid 30s is doing something "wrong" at least in the meaning of clearly deviating from what is universally regarded as good technique.

I would have to see a video of the person rowing at SR=18 to get a sense of what is going on with their stroke. I have a hard time rowing with such a low SR, and I can't really do it without pausing at the finish. So my guess is that there are going to be pauses, maybe more than one, in most rower's strokes at SR=18 or lower (not for Xeno or other world class rowers).

I think for those rowing in the mid 30s for stroke, the most obvious way to check that is to row strapless. Don't strap your feet down, row with them just placed on the footboards. I will be shocked if you can do that at stroke rate over 30 (I can hit 30 now strapless, but that takes a lot of concentration and years of practice). Rowing strapless should force you to begin to finish the stroke under control, and forces you to recover, meaning come back up the slide, with balance, and not by pulling yourself up by your feet.
M 51 5'9'' (1.75m), a once and future lightweight
Old PBs 500m-1:33.9 1K-3:18.6 2K-6:55.4 5K-18:17.6 10K-38:10.5 HM-1:24:00.1 FM-3:07.13

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Explaining myself

Post by iain » June 26th, 2008, 9:13 am

Heaviestuser wrote:
robertk wrote:Heaviestuser, I can't tell you how glad I am to see you here. I thought I was the only one alive to had scores similar to yours....WHO are these folks to can do 6:29 for 2000M??? How did they get that way? How long did it take? That's the forum question I'd love to see answered!
My pleasure

@ Iain,
My personal data:
Weight: 82 kg
Age: 50 yo
Height: 178 cm
Sex: Male

I know nobody at my gym who can row 500m/2:00 with a stroke rate lower than 30 :!: . I am talking about male rowers, who are 20 years younger than I am. One of them has a seasonal best of 7:01 for 2 k.
There are only a few males who can row 500/2:00 for some time ( say 2 k).
So i do not agree with Iain ["if you are a man, unless you are particularly weak then requiring 30SM for 2:00 seems excessive"]. I have to see it - some one rowing 500/2:00 with a stroke rate of 20 - to believe it.
I agree that most people at my gym use very high rates. my technique is not good, but I see incredibly inefficient technique from most people at my gym (although there are several who are much better and therefore faster).

Re 2:00 for 500m. HU said they were just out of College, I assumed that he was thus in his early 20's and apologise if he is a mature student. I agree for older rowers my comment is not true.

If someone can row 7:01 for 2k, at constant SPI, 30SPM for 2:00 would require the 7:01 was at >44 SPM. That I would like to see! If they did it lower, they could row 2:00 at <30SPM.

I agree a large proportion of people do an all out 2k at >30SPM. All I was saying was that most men of reasonable fitness in their 20's can break 8min for 2k when they get their technique right. My "particularly weak" comment was a little carried away, I agree, I was thinking of a short burst not a sustained row when I wrote this.

As a light weight, I can do 1:57-8 @ 20SPM for 1-2'. When you see postings on UK site that Graham Benton has been seen doing 1:36/500m for 30', my achievement can be seen as modest! Anyway 2 people have done >9000m for 30'r20 at altitude, a split of <1:40.

Sorry if I have upset anyone, just trying to help.

Regards

Iain

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michaelb
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Post by michaelb » June 26th, 2008, 9:22 am

I should be clear that my comments about stroke rate relate to training, not racing. People can race at any stroke rate they want, and most people do row 2k's with SRs in the 30s. Generally, the longer the distance the race, the slower the SR would be expected to be.

When I was prepping to race the 2k at the crash-bs, I did start doing intervals, 8x500m, and when doing those one of the main things I worked on was getting my SR up into the mid 30s. But was specific race prep training.

I adhere to Pauls' 10 meters per stroke strapless methodology, so that means my stroke rate is linked directly to the pace of any piece I do when training. 2:00 pace then means SR=25, since that is 10mps.
M 51 5'9'' (1.75m), a once and future lightweight
Old PBs 500m-1:33.9 1K-3:18.6 2K-6:55.4 5K-18:17.6 10K-38:10.5 HM-1:24:00.1 FM-3:07.13

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Re: Further thoughts for HU

Post by iain » June 26th, 2008, 9:33 am

michaelb wrote:
iain wrote: If 2:00 is at 30SPM, to do sub-7 pace at the same power per stroke would require 45SPM and even John's beloved Danish lightweights don't keep that up for a full 2k!
Iain, I am not sure where you got this idea. My guess is from reading about "SPI" on the UK forum... I am pretty sure there is no direct correlation between power (measured in watts) and stroke, so no "objective" truth about SPI at any particular stroke rate and what that could predict about other stroke rates. A sub7 2k takes 300 watts or so, so 50% more power than 2:00 pace, regardless of the stroke rate at either power output.
I agree I did assume constant SPI in my calculation. However, I do not agree that constant SPI is always achievable, just that when pulling at normal ratings, I feel that I am exerting myself a similar amount per stroke at similar SPI's. I also find that i can increase the SPI I can achieve at lower ratings. Hence I felt that if someone struggled to achieve 2:00 at 30SPM they would not usually manage sub 7 at sustainable ratings.

re 10mps, I am not aware of anyone arguing that you can maintain the same length of stroke when increasing rating at all out power. 10mps is all about control where less power is applied to each stroke at lower stroke rates. So while 34SPM would be 7:00 for 2k at the same stroke length as 30 SPM at 2:00/500m. If the latter was maximal, the former would be a hopeless medium term target without a major improvement in technique.

Regards

Iain

This is different from the delusion that being able to haul 13SPI at 18SPM will make you super fast when you up the rating! You also need to be able to row at that rating for the required distance with the same power per stroke.

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Post by korkiley » June 26th, 2008, 11:58 am

I'm new to this forum. In fact, this is the first thread that I've read and I did so with great interest. With a 2000 meter best of 2:04/500m, I'm below the league of many people, although as a lightweight (148lb) and 63 years old, I guess that brings my abilities a bit more in line.

Can someone please tell me what SPI is?

Hello Michael B in Burlington. I live in South Burlington and work at UVM.

I'm training for a Marathon using Frank Birch's marathon training program (from the UK C2 site). I find that I do most of my training with an SR of about 24. 18 seems painfully slow and I really have to concentrate to maintain it. Upwards of 30 also gets stressful. For those of you over 30, I wonder, are you getting a full stroke, i.e. leaning forward with arms extended to begin the stroke.

Kor

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SPI etc.

Post by iain » June 26th, 2008, 12:30 pm

korkiley wrote:With a 2000 meter best of 2:04/500m, I'm below the league of many people, although as a lightweight (148lb) and 63 years old, I guess that brings my abilities a bit more in line.

Can someone please tell me what SPI is?

I find that I do most of my training with an SR of about 24. 18 seems painfully slow and I really have to concentrate to maintain it. Upwards of 30 also gets stressful. For those of you over 30, I wonder, are you getting a full stroke, i.e. leaning forward with arms extended to begin the stroke.

Kor
Welcome to the Forum, I have found a lot of good advice and help both here and on UK site and, as a comparative beginner (only just past 1000 miles), much of what i say is my interpretation of the knowledgable contributors.

SPI stands for Stroke Power Index. It is calculated by dividing the power output (in Watts) by the SPM. It is a measure of the power put into each stroke. People vary from disciples to haters. The former claim that all rowing should be at a constant SPI, others just use it as a check on how they are rowing. Personally if SPI is lower than for a comparable piece, it is because I am either sloppy with my stroke or more tired / ill. care needs to be exercised trying to tell anything from SPI at extreme ratings, you can up SPI by an exaggerated stroke only achievable at low rating and at very high rating you are deliberately sacrificing power for an increase in speed, so SPI is bound to fall.

For Watts, see: http://www.machars.net/

As I said above, my comment on 2:00 pace was aimed at younger period. Your time would have put you half way up the world rankings for people of your weight and age group despite you being a long way below the LW cut off, so is very commendable. However, I would assume that over 500m you could probably pull <2:00 at 30SPM, supporting my point for people in their 20's.

Re high ratings, practice helps to maintain your stroke at higher ratings. Many people race a 2k at>30SPM and some of the best at 38 or so! I do not know how much the ratings fall for older competitors, but lightweights often use higher ratings due to reduced power and height.

The increased rating is achieved largely by going up the slide quicker (as well as a slight increase in the speed of the drive at the higher paces achievable). At very high ratings (starts, finishing bursts and <1k) people do indeed shorten the stroke, but by shortening the slide (not coming fully forward), and sometimes even increase the back movement (as this is faster than the legs).

Hope this helps.

Iain

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Re: stroke rates

Post by johnlvs2run » June 26th, 2008, 12:39 pm

Heaviestuser wrote:Stll I think Iain has written the best replies in this topic.
What about mine. :)

The Danish lightweights race at right around 8 meters per stroke, which is 30 spm at 2:05 pace, and would be 41.4 spm at 6:02.2 WR pace.

My personal ratings are mostly in the range of 8 mps, however the mps is less at shorter distances, and higher at longer ones. My 500m PB was at 7.1 mps (7 strokes per 50 meters), half marathon and marathon PB's at 8 mps. I did a half marathon yesterday morning, which was at 8 mps all the way. Currently I'm doing easy days at 2:20 pace at <23 spm though, which is .. 9.3 mps (just calculated) .. but going by the feel of it and not aiming for any particular rate. The point being is that when the pace doesn't matter then the stroke rate can be less, or more accurately is to say the mps can be higher - because the stroke rate is highly influenced by the pace.

Korkiley, nice to meet another lightweight 60+ rower.

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Re: stroke rates

Post by Nosmo » June 26th, 2008, 2:32 pm

John Rupp wrote: The Danish lightweights race at right around 8 meters per stroke, which is 30 spm at 2:05 pace, and would be 41.4 spm at 6:02.2 WR pace.
Yes but I doubt very much they train at 30 spm and 2:05 pace, except in a boat during drills. A 2:05 is a very slow pace for anyone capable of a 6:02. It is approximately 42% of race power which is less then the slowest "recovery pace" in the wolverine plan. There is no training benefit for them to row that slow. I have no doubt they can can do a 2:05 at a 16 rating for quite a long time.

Otherwise you points are well taken. Shorter the distance, the less spm and the higher the rating. Also the shorter and lighter the person the higher the rating.

The rating for an all out 2K should be more closely correlated to the height and size of the rower then it is to the pace. Hence you will see most lightweights doing 2K's in the 32-38 range whether they can do it at 6:30 or 8:00.

My 2K PB is also around 7.8 mps (7:01.4 32 spm). I know I am capable of going faster, but my rating will increase somewhat and my spms will decrease slightly. And I have no trouble going 2:00 at 20 spm for >30 minutes. It is a bit lower then I would prefer but it is no very hard to do.

BTW, John, how is the smoke where you are? It is pretty bad up in the bay area and I am hesitant to train now. Road my bike into work with a carbon filter mask. I may resort to using the mask when rowing.


47 yr. 5'7", 149 lbs.

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Re: stroke rates

Post by korkiley » June 26th, 2008, 8:04 pm

Korkiley, nice to meet another lightweight 60+ rower.
It's nice to meet you too John.

By the way. You have a very nice web site.

Kor

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Re: stroke rates

Post by johnlvs2run » June 26th, 2008, 10:19 pm

Nosmo wrote:Yes but I doubt very much they train at 30 spm and 2:05 pace
No, that would be me. :)

They probably do 1:54 pace like me doing 2:20 - easy all day pace.
My 2K PB is also around 7.8 mps (7:01.4 32 spm).
That is good to know Nosmo. I enjoy your messages, would be nice to see a video of you rowing sometime if you happen to get one.

The smoke is very bad today.
I was going to cancel the half marathon yesterday morning but then decided to do it anyway and kept the garage door shut.
It wasn't bad but today I feel the smoke in my throat.

Hi, Kor, thank you. Welcome to the forum.

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Post by jamesg » June 27th, 2008, 2:28 am

For what it's worth, I usually warm up at around 10m/stroke @18, and then get into UT1 at 11-11.5 m/stroke, rating 20-21. I'm 67, 6'2 (188cm) and 87-90kg as to season. When sculling too, I like to see the puddles well astern when I take the catch, which probably is the origin of the m/stroke idea; certainly eights like to see a nice chain.

When I raced 2ks, it was 10m/stroke at 27. This is Work of around 10W-minutes per stroke (often called SPI, something of a misleading misnomer, it's Work Done per Stroke, not Power). My net stroke length was around 1.2-1.25m (2/3 of height), and handle force 50kg (2/3 my fit weight); and 1.2 x 50 x g x 27/60 = 270W.

In engineering (i.e real) terms, Work Done = Force x Distance travelled by the point of application of the Force; in our case, average handle force x net handle travel (after engaging the gears). There is no more fundamental nor more important index of what we are doing on the erg (or afloat), and it is what the erg actually measures. Note that this gives equal importance to stroke length and to handle force; an effective stroke must have both, and in particular a zero net length stroke means work (and power) also = zero. Since the erg wastes 20-30cm at the catch, short strokes are heavily penalised.

In the various L4 (for which many thanks to MC) and the older Interactive schedules (Idem TO'N I guess), if we convert the specified paces to Watts, and divide by the ratings, we can see that the work per stroke is effectively constant, from 18 to 26. And so it should be; why should an oarsman change his preferred handle force and length just because he changes the rating? To do so would defeat the object of increasing the rating, which is to go faster.

There is no obligation to use this index, but it's there, like it or not. It's not a training tool, it's a technical index, and there aren't many others (maybe W/kg). When someone neither very old nor very small writes here that he does 2:20/500 (130W?) at 35, this means less than 4W'/stroke; i.e he's very lazy or has no idea what rowing is about, or both.

If I could pull 10W' for 7 minutes @27 with perfectly normal rowing technique at age 63 and with no particular strength, I don't see why someone 20+ years younger and heavier can't do at least as well. And he can, but has to learn how; rowing is a technical sport, and it's the technique that works us hard.

So let's not be afraid of Work or SPI, in itself, or as the erg tells us; it's what gets us fit, if it's high enough.
08-1940, 183cm, 84kg. Last seen MHR 155, in 2k (2020-12-03) 8.47.6@23

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Post by johnlvs2run » June 27th, 2008, 3:06 am

James, I don't quite understand.

The Danish record is 6:02.2 at 8 meters per stoke.
You suggest rowing at 10+ meters per stroke.

6:02.2 x 8 / 10 = 4:49.8 but you're only doing 7:33.

What am I missing?

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Re: stroke rates

Post by Nosmo » June 27th, 2008, 1:44 pm

John Rupp wrote: They probably do 1:54 pace like me doing 2:20 - easy all day pace.
Only when they row all day, they are probably doing it at 18-22 spm.
John Rupp wrote:
My 2K PB is also around 7.8 mps (7:01.4 32 spm).
That is good to know Nosmo. I enjoy your messages, would be nice to see a video of you rowing sometime if you happen to get one.
I rarely row at such a low mps in training. Most of the time I am above 10 mps. On a 2K PB I trade rating for pace. For example this morning (after a 20 min WP) I did 30 minutes changing rating every 2 minutes: 16,18,16,18,20,18,16,18,18,20,22,24,22,20,16. I did not attempt to hit a specific pace but the 18 spms were around 2:03 and the 24 was a 1:54. That is more or less a normal pacing for me for this length. Even when I do 1000m pieces I am usually at 27-30 for paces between 1:45 and 1:47.

One of the the things I have been working on is rowing smoother at higher ratings. But this is more a technique issue and it has been coming along fairly quickly.

I know you like high ratings but I do think you would benefit from some work at much lower ratings and more mps. It would be more force on the handle, and that would help you even if you continue to mostly row above 30. My philosophy has always been to extend the range of what you are comfortable doing. When I was bike racing, I always did some work at very high cadences and some hill work at very low cadences. I still can spin at over 200 rpm for a couple of minutes. It not something I would want to do in a race but if I can spin smoothly at 200 rpm, then I am pretty comfortable at 140, which I may have to suddenly close a gap on a down hill or respond to an attack.


My double's partner has a few videos of us rowing both on the water and with two ergs coupled with slides, but when he tried transfering them to his computer the quality was too poor. But here are a few pictures (I'm stroke):

http://mike-m.smugmug.com/gallery/34082 ... 7223_WMsKF
http://mike-m.smugmug.com/gallery/34082 ... 7255_e7jAv
http://mike-m.smugmug.com/gallery/34082 ... 7351_7DLcb
http://mike-m.smugmug.com/gallery/34082 ... 7379_6y4TX
http://mike-m.smugmug.com/gallery/34082 ... 7379_6y4TX

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Post by Nosmo » June 27th, 2008, 1:54 pm

John Rupp wrote:James, I don't quite understand.

The Danish record is 6:02.2 at 8 meters per stoke.
You suggest rowing at 10+ meters per stroke.

6:02.2 x 8 / 10 = 4:49.8 but you're only doing 7:33.

What am I missing?
Simple, He is not rowing at 41.4 spm. It takes very good technique and a very high aerobic capacity to row well with power at over 40 spm.

There is power required at high ratings just moving the body up and down the slide. The wasted energy is proportional to the rating cubed: http://www-atm.physics.ox.ac.uk/rowing/ ... #section13

If someone can row a 6:02 then this extra power is much smaller proportion of the total power then it is for someone who can row a 7:30. So a higher rating is a better trade off.

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