Relationships between rigging set-up, anthropometry, physical capacity, rowing kinematics and rowing performance

R S Barrett, J M Manning
Sports Biomechanics 2004, 3 (2): 221-35
The general aim of this study was to examine the relations between rigging set up, anthropometry, physical capacity, rowing kinematics and rowing performance. Fifteen elite single scullers participated in the experiment. Each sculler's preferred rigging set-up was quantified using measurements that included oar length, inboard, span, gearing ratio, swivel-seat height, footstretcher-seat height and distance, and footstretcher angles. Rowing performance was assessed using 2000 m race times from the Australian National Selection trials. Selected anthropometric, physical capacity and kinematic variables were also quantified. Several rigging variables were significantly correlated with each other, and with various anthropometric, physical capacity and kinematic variables. The individual variables that had the highest correlations with race time were 2 km ergometer time (r=0.90), mass (r=-0.87), height (r=-0.86), oar length (r = -0.85) and strength (r = -0.84). Overall results of this study indicated that the fastest rowers tend to be the largest and strongest, and that these larger body dimensions are reflected in the choice of rigging settings. Rigging set-up by itself should not be considered to be a primary determinant of rowing performance, but rather a consequence of faster rowers being larger and stronger and scaling their rigging set-up accordingly. To maximise rowing performance it appears important to tune the rigging of the boat to match the rower's size and strength.

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