The purpose of this investigation was to clarify the effects of blade design and oar length on performance in rowing. Biomechanical models and equations of motion were developed to identify the main forces that affect rowing performance. In addition, the mechanical connection between the propelling blade force and the force that the rower applies on the handle was established. On this basis it was found that the blade design and oar dimensions play a significant role on the rowing performance. While rowers have found empirically that larger and/or hydrodynamically more efficient blade shapes need to be rowed with shorter oars, this article explains this tendency from a biomechanical point of view. Based on the presented evidence, it can be concluded that shorter oars will allow rowers to improve the propelling forces without increasing the handle forces. These findings explain tendencies that started with the introduction of new blade shapes in 1991. A 2 × 2 factorial ANOVA was used to test the significance of the oar shortenings that occurred with the introduction of larger blade surfaces while international record times improved during all those years. Consequently, the findings of this investigation encourage coaches to further experiment with shorter oars and oar manufacturers to continue their blade development that would lead to even shorter oars, with the goal of continuous rowing performance improvements.
Dylan Brennan, Aleksandra A. Zecevic, Shannon L. Sibbald and Volker Nolte
Objectives: The risk of falling increases in adults aged 65 years and older. A common barrier to take up physical activity in sedentary older adults is the fear of falls and injury. Experiences of master athletes can provide insights into management of the risk of falling. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the fall-risk experience of masters athletes actively competing in sport. Methods: Masters athletes aged 55 years and older (N = 22) described their experiences in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed through an interpretive–constructivist paradigm using inductive content analysis. Results: Five dominant themes emerged: acceptance, learning, awareness, resilience, and self-fulfillment. Participants of this study reported an acceptance of the risk they take in sport for falls and injuries in their pursuits for self-fulfillment. Discussion: Findings indicate that master athletes accept the risk for falls and injuries in sport, find ways to adapt, and continue to compete because it is self-fulfilling. Sharing their experiences might inspire other older adults to get active as a rewarding means of remaining independent.