The influence of stretcher height on posture in ergometer rowing

Nick Caplan, Trevor Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this investigation was to determine the effect on rower posture of raising the stretchers. Nine male university rowers completed a single 30-s trial at each of three stretcher heights on an ergometer, at 30 strokes min-1. The first ten strokes with complete data were averaged and data for four time points during the stroke extracted: catch, mid-drive, finish, and mid-recovery. Ankle angle was shown to increase significantly at all points during the stroke (P<0.01) as the stretchers were raised. Knee angle was only significantly increased into a more extended posture at mid-drive (P<0.05) and mid-recovery (P<0.01) for the higher stretcher positions, hip angle was significantly reduced into a more flexed posture at the catch (P<0.05) and at mid-recovery (P<0.05), and the trunk was significantly extended at the catch (P<0.01), finish (P<0.01), and mid-recovery (P<0.05) as the stretchers were raised. Our results show that the increase in stretcher height caused the rower's body to rotate posteriorly in the sagittal plane. This we suggest reduced the vertical component of stretcher force, thus achieving a more mechanically effective position, which could have led to the slower rate of fatigue reported previously for the two raised stretcher positions (Caplan & Gardner, 2005). The increased flexion of the hip should not be ignored, however, as this may lead to overstretching of the hip extensors if the stretchers are raised too high. Further research is required to determine the extent to which the stretchers can be raised in on-water rowing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-268
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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