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Mechanical energy variations in rowing Martindale, Walter Olsen


The purpose of this study was to quantify and contrast the instantaneous segmental and total body energy patterns of rowing a single sculls racing shell with rowing a Gjessing (Norway) rowing ergometer, and to contrast energy savings through exchanges of mechanical energy among segments and conversions of energy within segments. Four scullers, two male and two female, were filmed at three stroke rates while rowing on a Gjessing rowing ergometer (RE), the RE mounted on a wheeled cart, and rowing in single sculls racing shells. Digitized coordinates of joint markers were combined with estimated body segment inertial parameters, and evaluated with link-segment methods after digital filtering to remove digitization noise. Mechanical energy and internal work analysis allowed calculation of energy savings due to exchange and interconversion of segmental energy. The internal work was least in the wheeled RE and greatest in the boat. Saving of energy through exchange was greatest in the boat, and least in the stationary RE. Saving of energy through interconversion was greatest in the wheeled RE. The interconversions (expressed as a percentage of total work) were lower, and quite similar for both the boat and the stationary RE. Similarity of energy saving scores between the boat and the wheeled RE allow the conclusion that rowing ergometer testing might permit athletes to work at stroke rates more similar to racing levels.

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