Speed up or slow down? Determining your stroke rate

The rowing machine is full of numbers and data. We’ve already covered the amount of power or watts, and the amount of time it takes to row 500 meters or split. But another determining factor in the amount of effort given during a class is the stroke rate, or the number of strokes per minute (spm).

Did you know? Olympic rowers will often start a race with more than 50 strokes per minute! And they have to be 100% in-sync with the other rowers in their boat.

During a warm-up, the stroke rate is usually between 18-22 spm, but while sprinting it can go up to more than 40 spm. At RowStudio, the desired stroke rate will be indicated on your screen. At your next class, try to follow it, while still maintaining power.

In order to do so, you’ll have to pay attention to your ratio. Remember to drive your legs down hard and then relax back up to take the next stroke. You are aiming for about a two to one ratio.  One beat to push the legs down and two or three beats to go back up for the next stroke. As the stroke rate increases, maintain the same ratio. You’ll have to drive the legs down faster, which will generate more power and therefore more speed.

Enjoy and power up!

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