Frequently Asked Questions

Summaries of Paper

Simple Summary


Rowing is hugely competitive, and crew selection is extremely difficult. Do we know what makes a good rower? And as a rower, do we understand what will make us better? The purpose of this paper was to give some insight into what dictates rowing performance. Because of COVID-19, I was unable to do it in person and had to resort to a questionnaire. There were 10 variables tested: 1. Height 2. Weight 3. Arm length 4. Inside leg length 5. Age 6. Sex 7. Experience level (Novice or Experienced) 8. Aerobic endurance (5k erg time) 9. Muscular power (100m erg time) 10. Flexibility (rating out of 10 from touching knees to hands flat on the floor) These were compared against their reported 2k erg time (and also 2k water time, out of interest). A piece of software (SPSS) ran an analysis that finds the best fit of all of these variables with the 2k time. It found that 5 variables didn't make the model much more accurate, meaning two main things: 1. The variable doesn't have much of an impact on 2k time 2. The variable is very similar to another variable, and adding them both doesn't improve the model much. So the best variable of the two is selected (e.g. arm span over height). The equation, therefore, used the remaining 5 variables and found that 5k erg time was very predictive of 2k erg time (obviously), and therefore made up 68% of the entire model. The calculator above makes it easy for you to enter your own data without needing to use the equation. Please follow the guides to make sure it works correctly!




Abstract


The standard race distance in rowing is 2,000m, and therefore it is important to understand the anthropometric and fitness variables which influence the time taken to complete this time trial. This study aimed to create a predictive calculator using already known and easily measured variables, whereby a rower or their coach could input their anthropometric and fitness data, and estimate the time taken to complete a 2,000m time trail on the rowing ergometer. 111 club rowers participated in the study through an online questionnaire, which collected data on ten independent variables of 2000m time. The predictive variables placed within the multiple linear regression equation (R2=0.822) were 5,000m time (67.7% importance, p<0.001) 100m time (13.6% importance, p=.001), weight (8.6% importance, p<.01), age (5.6% importance, p<.05) and arm span (4.5% importance, p=.051). Linear regression between ergometer time and single scull time had a R2of 0.676. The predictive calculator is practical in club environments and can supplement existing team selection and talent identification criteria, in addition to validating goal setting and training programmes. A larger sample size with more controlled and standardized tests, alongside a more sophisticated predictive model, would help increase the validity and accuracy of the model but at the cost of more invasive and expensive measure.




Shortened Results


2k Erg Time (82.2% accuracy) Formula: 2k erg time = 219.367 + 0.198 x "5000m time" + 5.162 x "100m time" - 0.539 x "weight" + 0.308 x "age" - 0.419 x "arm span" - 5,000m time (67.7%) - A 5k time increase of 1 minute will increase 2k time by 11.9 seconds, if all other variables stay the same. - 100m time (13.6%) - A 100m time increase of 1 second will increase 2k time by 5.2 seconds, if all other variables stay the same. - Weight (8.6%) - A weight increase of 1kg will decrease 2k time by 5.4 seconds, if all other variables stay the same. - Age (5.6%) - An age increase of 1 year will increase 2k time by 0.3 seconds, if all other variables stay the same. - Arm Span (4.5%) - A 1cm increase in arm span will decrease 2k time by 0.4 seconds, if all other variables stay the same. 2k Erg to 2k Single (67.6% accuracy) Formula: 2k single time = 140.928 + 0.777 x "2k erg time"




Limitations


The small sample size of 111 along with the self reported data obtained from the questionnaires, may reduce the reliability and validity of these results. Secondly, this study was skewed towards experienced heavyweight male rowers, and therefore other rowers may be under represented and therefore have less accurate results. Furthermore, the multiple linear regression model lacks complexity and therefore may misinterpret the complex relationships between the variables and 2,000m ergometer time. Lastly, the water time conversion ignores the imperfect relationship between ergometer time and single scull time. Paired with the low sample size of 25, this conversion is over simplistic and therefore not suitable for accurately determining single scull speed.





Help for Rowers

What does this calculator do?


This calculator was made by taking data from 111 rowers (mostly over 1 year experience), and determing what the most important factors were. A model was then created so that you can enter your own data, and it will estimate what your 2k time should be, in comparison to this 111 rower sample.




But why is this helpful?


If you are new to rowing and have a 2k erg test coming up, the usefulness of this caclulator is clear. This will help you see what time is roughly expected of you so you can plan your placing so you don't blow up. If you're not new to rowing, you probably know your 2k time...right? Well here's how this calculator can help you: 1. Compare your result against what your theoretical 2k time should be. 2. See how changes in one of the vairables changes your theoretical 2k time. E.g. where will your 2k time be after you cut 5kg to make lightweight. 3. Figure out a realistic plan to your required 2k time. Use the modifiable variables (weight, 100m time and 5k time) to figure out how to get to your goal. Remember that heavier rowers usually perform better because they have more muscle mass.




How can I use this to track my progress?


2K Erg Graph Vs Predicted 2K Adding the predicted 2K time line, as seen in the spreadsheet above, can help you analyse whether you have been outperforming or underperforming in your 2K. Remember, underperforming may not mean you aren't training hard enough. Maybe you are experiencing burnout, or maybe you've gained fat mass.




Is the 2K water time accurate?


Simply put, no. It's only a really rough guide of what a 2k time at that pace would look like on the water. Far too many varibles come into play on the water that simply aren't accounted for, and alongside the small sample size. In addition, there truely is no standardised water time, and therefore there is no such thing as an accurate water time- unless weather conditions are taken into consideration.





Help for Coaches

What does this calculator do?


This calculator was made by taking data from 111 rowers (mostly over 1 year experience), and determing what the most important factors were. A model was then created so that a rower's data can be entered, and it will estimate what their 2k time should be, in comparison to this 111 rower sample.




How can this help me as a coach?


If you are coaching a novice team who have not completed a 2k test yet, but have completed their 5ks and 100ms, this calculator can be very useful for predicting your athlete's performance individually. You can use this data to visualize crew 2ks also by averaging. This is also good for helping to give your novice athlete's targets. It takes the guess work out, and should give a relatively close estimate of what time they should get in their 2k. This should therefore help prevent under performance or blowing up. If your athletes are experienced, you probably know their 2k time. Here's how this calculator can help you in this case: 1. Compare their 2k result against their theoretical 2k time. 2. See how changes in one of the vairables changes your athlete's theoretical 2k time. E.g. where will their 2k time be after they cut 5kg to make lightweight. 3. Figure out a realistic plan to the goal 2k time. Use the modifiable variables (weight, 100m time and 5k time) to figure out how to get to this goal. Remember that heavier rowers usually perform better because they have more muscle mass.




How accurate is the 2K water estimate?


Simply put, no. It's only a really rough guide of what a 2k time at that pace would look like on the water. Far too many varibles come into play on the water that simply aren't accounted for, and alongside the small sample size. In addition, there truely is no standardised water time, and therefore there is no such thing as an accurate water time- unless weather conditions are taken into consideration.




Can I use this for team selection?


This calculator is good for simplifying team selection. However, it is not to be used in isolation. Actual 2k time, and performance on the water are much more important.




My team is too large. How can I speed up these calculations?


You can create a spreadsheet with fields for their age, weight, arm span, 100m time and 5k time, and use the following equation to automatically calculate their predicted 2k time easily: 219.367 + 0.198 x "5000m time" + 5.162 x "100m time" - 0.539 x "weight" + 0.308 x "age" - 0.419 x "arm span" Time is in seconds, weight in kg and arm span in cm. If you need any help with this, please do reach out at cavan@cavanhagan.com.




How can I use this to track my athlete's progress?


Adding the predicted 2K time line, as seen in the spreadsheet above, can help you analyse whether your athletes have been outperforming or underperforming in their 2Ks. This can be done individually, and more interestingly, accumulated within their crews. Remember, underperforming may not mean they aren't training hard enough. Maybe they are experiencing burnout, or maybe are not lean enough.