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The quest for a perfect curve: a force curve

The force curve is shown on a small graph that appears on your screen while training. The y-axis is power and the x-axis is time, so you’ll see how you generate power throughout one stroke’s drive.

What are you looking for? The ideal curve would actually be a rectangle. That would indicate immediate full power application, sustaining the power all the way through the drive, and then the complete relinquishing of power as you move into the recovery. Yet, this is humanly impossible.

Instead, you want to aim for the closest alternative, a parabolic-type curve. Think of an upside-down u shape. As you drive your legs, the curve will go up to its peak point. As your body and arms come into the stroke, the curve will decrease from its peak back down to zero at the end of the stroke.

Here are two important tips:

  1. Try to remove any bumps in the curve. Bumps are an indication of lost power.
  2. Try to maintain a consistent and symmetrical curve. You don’t want too much power at the beginning and then it trails off dramatically at the end, or too little power at the beginning and it becomes much bigger at the end.

In order to do it correctly, think about pushing with legs then engaging the core and hips all the way through to the finish. And stay tuned for our post on rowing technique.

Did you know? The force curve is one of the most hotly debated subjects in rowing biomechanics. Coaches from around the world debate the exact shape the curve should have, but the tips provided here are agreed upon by all!

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