SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing, examines the benefits of indoor rowing for athletes of all abilities and ages ahead of the British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC), taking place on Saturday, 9 December at the Lee Valley VeloPark.
With a multitude of external and climatic variables affecting each performance, the complexities of rowing on water make indoor rowing a pivotal part of the British Rowing training schedule.
Holly Norton, who has World Championship medals in the Women’s Four and Women’s Pair, noted: “It is extremely useful because the environment is controlled, so the splits you are getting on the erg are consistent and you don’t have to think about outside factors such as wind or water temperature, so it really helps you assess your fitness. You can also do a lot of technical things on the erg and then take that to the water. The erg data will give you an idea of what sorts of performances you are likely to do on the water, so it’s very useful throughout the winter and is what we are focussing on now.”
Data collected from British Rowing training sessions enables athletes and coaches to assess lots of factors and make informed decisions about how to positively work towards their performance targets at events, including the European Championships in Glasgow next year and, most importantly, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.
A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH
This scientific approach is acknowledged to increase the confidence of British Rowing athletes, and Paralympian Grace Clough highlighted some of the physiological benefits of indoor rowing: “Ergos are great because they are not weight bearing. It’s a powerful tool and you are using a lot of power and exertion, but it’s not putting pressure on your joints like some activities do.”
The benefits of indoor rowing are not limited to the elite rowers. Indoor rowing is accessible to all, with indoor rowing machines common in gyms throughout the country.
Double World Rowing Champion Mat Tarrant spoke about the transferable skills from the ergo to competitive action: “Indoor rowing gives you the basics of fitness and strength that you need for all sport, so you can focus on certain muscle groups and work on your entire aerobic system.”
He also noted the role that data can play in the daily training regime: “Whenever I finish the erg I always look at the overall distance and interval split times. So, say you do 20 minutes, you can see how quick you were for every five-minute segment or you can just see how quick you are for the overall time, and compare this to previous results. You can use this as inspiration to push yourself.”
For the ultra-competitive, events such as BRIC, which release competitor split times, can provide a data benchmark for budding rowers to aspire to within the comfort of their gym. The next step, the transition onto the water, may not be so simple, but as pointed out by Norton, “being on the water is more exciting, so definitely worth the challenge.”
For more information about SAS, visit www.sas.com
Learn more about British Rowing by visiting: www.britishrowing.org