Background: Rowing movements can be simulated using specialized ergometers; the method can be used both
for training and indoor assessment of body movements within controlled conditions.
Purpose: To perform a three-dimensional quantitative analysis of body movements during ergometer rowing, and to
examine if there is a relationship between anthropometry and rowing kinematics.
Study Design: Descriptive Laboratory Study
Methods: Body movements were recorded in 18 high-level oarsmen during ergometer rowing at 28 strokes/min. The
three-dimensional movements of 21 body landmarks (left and right ankle, knee, greater trochanter, hip, shoulder, elbow,
wrist, tragus; spinous process of C7, T2, T12, L2, L4) were detected by an optoelectronic instrument. Using dedicated
software¸ the range of motion of the posterior angles of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine segments relative to the
horizontal axis; the angles between greater trochanter- knee- ankle and between knee-ankle and the ground; head rotation
and tilt; leg and upper limb symmetry, were computed.
Results: The head and neck were approximately in line with the horizontal at catch, and extended at finish, with limited
horizontal and frontal plane inclinations. Thoracic spine extension during the stroke was on average 68°. Lumbar spine
range of motion was on average 59°, and it was smaller in weightier oarsmen. Upper limbs were symmetric, and a
complete, symmetric extension of the lower limbs was made. At catch the legs were nearly perpendicular to the ground.
Conclusions: The method allowed the measurement of the kinematic characteristics of the body during ergometer rowing.
The measurements agreed with conventional technical teaching.
Clinical Relevance: Data collected on high-level rowers can provide a set of standard quantitative execution parameters
that can be used by coaches as a benchmark for the assessment of technical movements in all rowers.