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How to measure your performance by a ‘split’?

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The ‘split’ is a common measurement in the rowing world. It is a measure of the amount of time it takes to row a distance of 500 meters. On the RP3 machine, a time of two minutes per 500 meters is displayed as: 2:00/500m.

On-water rowing races take place over a standard 2000-meter distance. This distance is divided into four 500-meter segments. The time per 500 meters has been set as a common measurement of rowing performance.

Did you know? The world record time for a man over 2000 meters is 5:35.8, that means an average split of 1:23.9 for more than 5 minutes. For a woman it is 6:22.8, which is a 1:35.7 split. Can you reach those numbers for one stroke during your next class?

The split is related to *Watts via a complicated formula. Luckily, the machine translates the numbers for you directly. As your Watts, or power output, goes up, your split will decrease. If you were rowing on the water, you would be moving the boat faster!

Similarly to Watts, it is difficult to estimate what to aim for because factors such as fitness level, technique and height/weight play an important role. However, below you will find some general guidelines.

Average woman, 165cm, 65kg

Aerobic rowing: 2:25/500m

Sprint rowing: 1:55/500m

Average man, 180cm, 85kg

Aerobic rowing: 2:05/500m

Sprint rowing: 1:35/500m

Take a look at your split the next time you are on the rowing machine. The harder you drive through your legs, the faster you will go (that means the number will decrease). Remember to focus on improving your best split as your fitness level increases!

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