Remote Rowing Coach – Instruction Manual (v 1.07)

Remote Rowing Coach – Instruction Manual (v 1.07)

Please note that Remote Rowing Coach will only work with a Concept2 rowing machine equipped with a PM5 monitor.

If you require support or want to report a bug, please contact me at neil@powertendevelopment.com

If you wish to use the web interface (you will still need to purchase a subscription within the app to use) the link is below:

A Guided Tour Of Remote Rowing Coach

Subscription Based Service For Remote Coaching

There is a large amount of functionality that is available without the need for an in-app purchase or a subscription. However, for users wanting more, please review the following for more information on this paid functionality.

This app was built because of a need in the market for a solution for coaches to monitor their rowing athletes remotely and get a more in-depth metrics on their performance in real-time.

Subscriptions can be purchased for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 month periods of time. There is a limit of 5000 strokes per day on any of the subscription plans.

The subscription service allows access to the following functionality.

  1. Transmission of PM5 monitor data to the cloud for the purposes of another party (such as a Coach) to view this data to provide real-time feedback on rowing performance.
  2. Advanced analysis of force curve data (one time- STROKE ANALYSIS in-app purchase)

There is a one time purchase for those users that just need access to force curve analysis and do not need remote coaching functionality. If this is the case for you, please purchase the STROKE ANALYSIS in-app purchase.

You can purchase any of these subscriptions or force curve analysis by clicking the purchase/restore button on the main menu. 

Please also note that if you purchase a remote coaching subscription this will also unlock stroke analysis for force curve data viewing/analysis.

App Design Philosophy

The major point of value for this app is the ability to facilitate real-time data transmission between an athlete and another person at a remote location via the internet. Considerable care has been taken to ensure that the transmission of data is secure and that the athlete has full control over the data they produce. 

As a result, it was a design philosophy to only allow the coach to view the data in real-time without any capacity for storing that data. In addition to this philosophy, it would also be cost-prohibitive to store data in real time. 

As a result, Remote Rowing Coach provides the athlete the functionality to upload their data to the Concept 2 Logbook. From there the possibility exists for importing data to other platforms or sharing that information with them through some other means such as granting permission for training partners on the Concept 2 Logbook platform.

The Initial Screen
Register a New User

Account Creation and User Login

Before the app can be used, it is necessary for a user to create an account, password and username. This process of account creation allows for the remote coaching aspect of the app to function.  A username is provided so that users can locate their coach and provide permission for the viewing of that data.  

Currently there are two methods to creating an account. 

The first method is a standard email and password authentication. If a user chooses this option then they must also verify their email address before access to the app is granted. 

The second option is a requirement of all iOS apps using third party sign in services. This takes the form of a Sign In With Apple button. The advantages of this is that the email address associated with this has already been verified. 

The login is also anonymous so the database does not receive the actual email address of the user but a relaying address that provides a way to authenticate the user anonymously.

The Settings Screen

App Settings

Before trying the app it is necessary for the user to set up certain configuration options in the settings control panel. The functionality that can be adjusted includes the following:

  1. Authorizing the app to have access to a personal Concept 2 Logbook account.
  2. Disconnecting the app from the access to the Concept 2 Logbook that has been previously granted.
  3. Enabling remote coaching. When remote coaching is enabled, the app will send a stroke by stroke data packet to the real-time server which can be received at a remote location. 
  1. Setting a user profile to be public or private. This functionality allows other users to grant permission for another user to view their data in real-time if remote coaching is turned on and their coach has a public profile. Or, this grants functionality for a coach to view remote real-time data.
  2. Max heart rate and resting heart rate settings. This functionality uses a basic system to calculate the energy zone that an athlete is working in when they are rowing. As of the time of writing both % of max heart rate and the Karvonen methods of calculating heart rate zones can be used. A user must choose which one they want to use in settings. 
  1. The user can select whether or not they are heavyweight or lightweight.
  2. The user has the option to close their account permanently. This functionality deletes all data on the user in the database, and also removes any trace of username in the system. 

Using The App For Monitoring and Recording Training Data

Once settings are configured the athlete can now use the app data collection during their exercise. To initiate this the user should click the athlete click here button. At this juncture, if remote coaching is turned on the user will be asked to select the coach that they are working with by clicking on their username in the next screen. Note, this screen will not appear if remote coaching is turned off.

On the next screen the user can scan for available PM5 monitors. It is necessary to turn on the monitor and enable the Bluetooth functionality from the connect option found on the monitor before paring it with the mobile device.

Pair with the PM5 Monitor

Once the app is paired with a PM5 monitor a session ID will be displayed to the athlete. This is a second level of security that is in place to ensure that the data that the athlete is producing during the workout can only be read by a third party that is authorized and has this particular code. The athlete should communicate this code to their coach in a secure fashion to initiate the remote coaching session.

If the athlete does not require the session to be transmitted to another third-party then the session ID is not displayed and a label in the top left-hand corner of the screen clearly indicates that remote coaching is inactive.

The athlete has the option to program the PM5 monitor with their training session of choice and Remote Rowing Coach will record all session summary, splits and each stroke data point as the training progresses.

Coach View

It is possible to view the data produced by an athlete using Remote Rowing Coach remotely in two ways:

  1.  Another Instance of Remote Rowing Coaching running on a different mobile device. The coach can have an instance of Remote Rowing Coach running on an iOS device and if they are authorized and they have the session ID they can access some data.  The coach should click the coach click here button in the main menu to initiate this functionality.  
Coaching View During Real-Time Data Transmission on an iPad

When the coaching screen initializes the coach will see a dialog requesting to enter a session ID for an athlete. Once the session ID is saved, the coach should have access to the athlete real-time data.  Note:  This screen is currently under development. However, the smaller screen size on smaller mobile devices such as phones makes it preferable to use the web browser interface which will be discussed below.

Viewing Real-Time Data in a web browser (Chrome Preferred)
  1. The second option for viewing real-time data is to use the companion website.  To log into this website URL will provide a login and registration screen similar to that of the mobile app. The setup for the view of remote PM5 on the website is similar to the app. Please note that in order to use the web interface you will need an active subscription in the iOS app. I am working on a web browser only subscription service which will not require the use of the iOS app. The web portal will only work with the Chrome browser when connecting the PM5 to the computer.

The link to the web portal can be found here:

A coach needs to be authorized by the athlete, and a correct session id will provide access to the real-time data. Coaches have the option to make their username public or private. They also have the option to close their account in the account management link. Note this functionality is still under development and any feedback for improvement is welcome.

Below is a link to a YouTube video showing the app running on two different devices, one local (coach) and the other remote. The video demonstrates the power of the app to provide real-time data monitoring provided that the internet connection is fast enough with sufficient bandwidth.

How To Establish A Remote Real-Time Data Connection

Max Power 7 or 10 Stroke Testing

A new piece of functionality that has been added to later versions of the app is the ability to perform max power tests over a seven or ten stroke count. To access this functionality, use the “Peak Power” button on the main menu page. After pairing the app with the PM5 monitor through the normal method, you can select either 7 or 10 stroke tests. The monitor will automatically reset for the beginning of the stroke. Once the test is complete, the data for each individual stroke is saved to the device and the user is prompted to input some text to help them reference the particular stroke test later on. 

Peak Power Testing Screen

The max power testing can be accessed by clicking the View My Training button and pressing the peak power testing tab at the bottom of the screen. It is possible to pick on the specific test and get summary/average stats for the test. In addition, the test can be exported to a comma separated values (CSV) file for further analysis and for ease of tracking data.

Peak Power Training Review Screen

Reviewing Data Once A Training Session Is Complete

Remote running coach also provides the opportunity for athletes to review their training. When the “View My Training” button is clicked the athlete is presented with all of the workouts that they have completed during their use of the app. 

View Your Stored Training Sessions

Users can then click on each workout and be taken to a summary screen where they can review the summary data for the entire workout (see image below). Users can also upload their training to the Concept2 Logbook using the orange button for each training session provided they have previously authenticated in the settings control screen.

Training session summary screen

By clicking in the top right-hand corner on the summary screen, athletes are taken to a screen showing the splits for that particular workout. This screen allows for the viewing of splits and intervals very similar to how it is displayed on the PM5 monitor. Users have the option to change the metrics between 500m split, watts and calories per hour. 

View Your Training Splits For A Training Session

Data Analysis

The user also has access to a reasonably robust data-analysis screen. This screen allows for the plotting of many different variables captured by the PM5 monitor during training. The data analysis view involves a scatter plot style graph. The user can choose which variable to plot on the x-axis and which one to plot on the y-axis. After they have finished selecting these variables they can click the plot button and a graph will be shown. See below. 

Data Analysis With Scatter plot Functionality.

Force Curve Analysis

There are two pieces of functionality for force curve analysis. (this can be accessed by purchasing a stroke analysis in-app purchase). 

  1. Analyze the average of all force curves in a training piece and sort them by stroke rate. 

Change the selected stroke rate that you wish for the data analysis to find and the app will search all of the force curves generated at that selected stroke rate and display the average of all of these stroke rates. If you wish to save this query then click the “Save Force Curve” button. It is possible to search five different stroke rates and save them to keep them displayed on the graph. Once analysis is finished, the graph can be saved to the photo library on the device for later review. 

Force Curve Averages At Various Stroke Rates

Click on the image below for a video explaining how this functionality works. 

Using the force curve analysis functionality.
  1. The user of the app also has the ability to analyze their force curves individually.


The force curve analysis is available by clicking on the “stroke-by-stroke” link in the top right hand corner of the force curve average analysis screen. See the screenshot below.

Stroke-by-stroke analysis screen

Exporting Data From The App

Also included on the data analysis screen is the ability for uses to export that data into a CSV format. There are two options for export. The first is a basic export that provides a CSV file in the same format as the one provided when users download data from the Concept2 Logbook in the CSV format.

The second option is a detailed report that exports all of the data recorded by the app including metrics such as drive length, peak force, average force, drive speed and the force curve points provided the PM5 is a newer version and features transmission of the force curve metrics each stroke.

It is also possible to take a picture of a graph once it has been plotted and save it to the photos album on the device. A user will need to grant permission to the app in order to accomplish this. 

Uploading To The Concept2 Logbook

There is a function that allows a user to upload their data to the Concept 2 Logbook provided the user has authenticated previously in the settings control panel. The clicking of the Upload To Logbook button facilitates this process very efficiently. This is also accomplished by clicking the orange “upload to logbook” button on the “view my training” screen. 

Viewing Concept2 Logbook Data

The final piece of functionality in Remote Rowing Coach, is the ability for a user to access their Concept2 Logbook data from within the app. if the user clicks on the Concept2 Logbook Button in the main menu screen, the app will query the Logbook database provided the user has given the app the appropriate username and password for their account. Users can now click on each workout and they will be taken to a screen that shows their logbook data in a scatter plot format. That this functionality is still a work in progress and should be improved as time goes on.

Final Thoughts

This app is a work in progress. I am open to feedback on any or all of this functionality and appreciate your willingness to use this app and help improve the quality and functionality of it.

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