Rowing Crew Coordination Dynamics at Increasing Stroke Rates

Laura S. Cuijpers*, Frank T. J. M. Zaal, Harjo J. de Poel

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

21 Citaten (Scopus)
356 Downloads (Pure)


In rowing, perfect synchronisation is important for optimal performance of a crew. Remarkably, a recent study on ergometers demonstrated that antiphase crew coordination might be mechanically more efficient by reducing the power lost to within-cycle velocity fluctuations of the boat. However, coupled oscillator dynamics predict the stability of the coordination to decrease with increasing stroke rate, which in case of antiphase may eventually yield breakdowns to in-phase. Therefore, this study examined the effects of increasing stroke rate on in-and antiphase crew coordination in rowing dyads. Eleven experienced dyads rowed on two mechanically coupled ergometers on slides, which allowed the ergometer system to move back and forth as one 'boat'. The dyads performed a ramp trial in both in- and antiphase pattern, in which stroke rates gradually increased from 30 strokes per minute (spm) to as fast as possible in steps of 2 spm. Kinematics of rowers, handles and ergometers were captured. Two dyads showed a breakdown of antiphase into in-phase coordination at the first stroke rate of the ramp trial. The other nine dyads reached between 34-42 spm in antiphase but achieved higher rates in in-phase. As expected, the coordinative accuracy in antiphase was worse than in in-phase crew coordination, while, somewhat surprisingly, the coordinative variability did not differ between the patterns. Whereas crew coordination did not substantially deteriorate with increasing stroke rate, stroke rate did affect the velocity fluctuations of the ergometers: fluctuations were clearly larger in the in-phase pattern than in the antiphase pattern, and this difference significantly increased with stroke rate. Together, these results suggest that although antiphase rowing is less stable (i.e., less resistant to perturbation), potential on-water benefits of antiphase over in-phase rowing may actually increase with stroke rate.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's18
TijdschriftPLoS ONE
Nummer van het tijdschrift7
StatusPublished - 17-jul-2015

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