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Why are Force Curves so important for improving technique and crew performance?

The Force Curve shows a visual representation of how you apply power, or force, during each rowing stroke. The force that you apply changes during the drive, depending on your technique, or how you use your arms, back and legs during the stroke.

Avio RowSense shows the power, or force, exerted (y-axis) over time (x-axis). The smoother the curve, the smoother your application of power throughout the stroke, and the higher the peak of the curve, the more power you have exerted.

Dips in the curve highlight areas for improvement, as they show where less power has been applied during the drive. One common reason for a dip in the Force Curve is the transition of power from the legs to the back muscles – working to eradicate dips like these during your sessions, will result in better performance and technique over time.

As the legs are the largest and strongest muscles involved in your stroke, they’re the muscle group that creates the notorious ‘peak’ that you see in force curves and produce the most power (around 60%), with the back generating the second most force (30%), and the arms producing the least (10%).

One reason not to lay back too much in the finish position is that you would be producing less power – the more time spent in the layback position, the less time you’re exerting power from the legs… The arms obviously then complete the stroke, bringing the Force Curve back to zero – ready for the next drive.

Viewing your Force Curves during sessions can definitely help you to improve your technique, but is extremely useful to coaches too, who are able to analyse the curves for all of their athletes and use that data to plan effective boat positioning, as well as effective coaching strategies for the entire team.

To achieve the best speeds and improve your rowing technique, you want to be aiming for a continuous application of power throughout the stroke, and concentrate on refining your Force Curves – ideally, you’re aiming for as smooth a curve (so as smooth an application of power) as possible. Viewing the Force Curves throughout your rowing sessions allows you to make adjustments to technique and power application in real-time.

What do you do to improve your performance and technique? Do you think that you’d find real-time analysis of your Force Curves useful?

Until next time,

The Avio Team