Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 264 - 270

Research article
Effect of Rowing Ergometer Compliance on Biomechanical and Physiological Indicators during Simulated 2,000-metre Race
Nejc Šarabon1,2, , Žiga Kozinc1,3, Jan Babič4, Goran Marković5,6
Author Information
1 University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Koper, Slovenia
2 S2P, Science to Practice, Ltd., Laboratory for Motor Control and Motor Behaviour, Ljubljana, Slovenia
3 University of Primorska, Andrej Marusič Institute, Koper, Slovenia
4 Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
5 University of Zagreb, Faculty of Kinesiology, Zagreb, Croatia
6 Research Unit, Motus Melior Ltd., Zagreb, Croatia

Nejc Šarabon
✉ University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Polje 42, SI-6310 Izola, Slovenia
Publish Date
Received: 09-01-2019
Accepted: 15-03-2019
Published (online): 01-06-2019
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This study compared biomechanical characteristics and physiological responses during rowing on three devices: (i) stable ergometer (STE), (ii) transversally compliant ergometer (TCE) and (iii) frontally compliant ergometer (FCE). Eleven young competitive rowers completed a 2000 meter simulated race under each of the ergometer conditions in a randomized order. Stroke rate, average force, power output, velocity and amplitude of the handle and stretcher or seat, heart rate and blood lactate were measured at 500 m intervals. Force and power at the stretcher were significantly lower (p < 0.03) for TCE, while stroke rate and velocities of the handle and the seat were higher (p < 0.01). No significant differences were observed between STE and FCE in biomechanical parameters. The lowest rowing performance was observed in FCE (p = 0.007), and was accompanied with the highest average heart rate (p = 0.031). Our findings indicate that in TCE, rowers modified their technique, but were able to maintain physiological strain and performance. In contrast, FCE had no effect on rowing biomechanics, but decreased rowing performance and increased physiological strain. It seems plausible that transversal, but not frontal compliance, elicited a biomechanical technique that might reduce the discrepancy between a rowing ergometer and on-water rowing.

Key words: Rowing, biomechanics, stability, power, velocity, technique

           Key Points
  • Transversally compliant (slide-based) ergometers elicit biomechanical changes that might be favorable in comparison to stable ergometers.
  • Rowing on a frontally compliant ergometer does not induce any biomechanical changes, however, it appears to be the most physiologically demanding.
  • Seat and handle amplitudes were similar between stable and both compliant ergometers, suggesting none of the ergometers could decrease the associated lumbar range of motion and potentially reduce the incidence of lower back pain.
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