Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 310+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 27000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for $9.99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points


A measure of quality: The boat speed to stroke rate ratio

Many rowers and coaches still believe that maintaining a constant Distance per Stroke (DpS) at varying stroke rates is a measure of the quality of their technique. However in reality, both on the water and on rowing machines, DpS always gets shorter at higher rates. So what should we really be looking at?

Let’s say a single is cruising along at 20 strokes per minute (spm) at a 2:05 500m/split pace (4m/s), with a DpS of 12m. What happens if the sculler increases stroke rate to 40spm but wants to maintain DpS? The duration of the stroke cycle halves (from 3s down to 1.5s), so to maintain a 12m DpS, the boat must go double the speed - 8m/s or a 1:02.5 split

That clearly is an unrealistic speed for a single, or any boat type for that matter. Why? Because drag resistance force is proportional to the square of the boat speed, so for twice the speed, a sculler has to produce four times the force. In addition, stroke length usually gets shorter at higher rates, which would also need to be compensated for with even more force. Put simply, it’s not going to happen. This law applies even at smaller increases in stroke rate. Say a single is racing at 32spm with 1:47 split, then sprints at 36spm and wants to maintain the same DpS of 8.76m. The force would need to increase by nearly one third (27%) and power by nearly a half (42%) - also quite unrealistic.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Row360 - Issue 20 - Oct | Nov 2017
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Digital Issue
Issue 20 - Oct | Nov 2017
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Row360 subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.33 per issue

View Issues

About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, adaptive, college, club, ocean, and more.