Video of the Week: Physics of boat acceleration for rowing shells

I know a 20 minute long video on physics probably doesn’t sound that interesting but it’s actually pretty informative and really well put together. (And, considering it was put together by a rower who also happens to be a physics professor, you know what’s in here is legit.) If you haven’t taken physics in school yet then some of the concepts might be a little over your head but once you hear her explain them in the context of rowing, they start to make a bit more sense.

If you’ve ever heard your coach mention force curves or you want to know how to read them, she explains that here, except instead of using an erg she uses actual video of her and her brother rowing in a double to point out where each of the major points of the stroke are and how they’re translated onto the force curve.  She also mentions how they could improve certain parts of their stroke based off of the data she got from the force curve. I think this section of the video is the most helpful because once you know and understand what each part of the graph means you can then use that knowledge to evaluate your own stroke if you’re in a single or your crew’s collective stroke if you’re in a bigger boat. Keep in mind though that this is one of those things that’s easy to “fall down the rabbit hole” with. It’s cool and can definitely give you a lot of good info but if you’re a novice high school crew, you’re not gonna get much from it. It could be a fun to mess around with though during your winter/spring training trip if you’re a top level junior or collegiate crew though.

The app she used is CrewNerd (iOS/Android), which essentially turns your phone into a SpeedCoach for the much-easier-to-justify price of $50. (I have the free version on my phone that I use on occasion when I’m coxing if I want to get a rough idea of our splits but don’t have a SpeedCoach with me. It works the same as the paid version but stops displaying data after 100 strokes or 5 minutes. If you want unlimited use of it for 30 days it costs $1.99.) Once you’ve completed a workout you can pull it up in the “history” tab and export the data from there.


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