Recording data for rowing power testing has typically been very cumbersome. A coach or athlete would usually need to video record their tests. After this, transcribe the results for each individual stroke. This article documents the free-to-use functionality that I have added to my app Remote Rowing Coach to help provide a solution to this problem.
In March this year, I released Remote Rowing Coach in the iOS App Store. My goal was to build an app that I could use to help me coach my clients remotely. Enabling real-time transmission of Concept2 PM5 data.
I also thought that it would be important to provide coaches and athletes the opportunity to access all of the data that the PM5 collects or derives. In turn, the app could analyze that data any way that a user wanted.
I’ve been corresponding with Strength Coach Will Ruth over the past couple of years and he tweeted the following about the problem he had collecting data when performing rowing power testing.
One of the biggest limitations in practical testing & academic studying of rowing peak power is the lack of a 10-second function on C2 ergs, & I will rejoice when @concept2 finally adds this functionality. Some variation of this line appears in almost every rowing power study. pic.twitter.com/xx6aYlS5e1— Will Ruth (@willruth335) February 25, 2021
In short, given that a Concept2 PM5 was not able to record training less than 20 seconds in length, it was impossible to collect data without someone recording the power output by hand using a video recording for example.
Given my experience with the Concept2 PM5 API, I thought that this would be a good project to see if I could program a solution to this problem, and build the functionality into Remote Rowing Coach.
It took me a few days to program a solution. I was able to program a module in the app to record 7 or 10 stroke max power tests. Ideally, the 7 stroke tests are the most valid because the energy system you want to test (phosphagen energy system) is only firing for a short period of time.
The app now features a fairly robust peak power testing functionality. It is possible to export the data for each stroke out of the app in a CSV format.
Additionally, a few months after I built this functionality, I added a graphing functionality to the app so that different tests could be plotted on the same graph for easy comparison.
It has been shown that peak power is correlated with a 2K score. My hope is that coaches and athletes now have a great solution to the problem of the PM5 data capturing capabilities. The best part is that this functionality is free so does not require a purchase to access.
To improve this functionality, I have plans to add drag factor into the data collection. I am working on it now and it should be released in the future. For the moment, it will be important to ensure that your drag factor is set before you do a test to ensure a fair comparison between tests.
I hope my app is helpful to you in your rowing journey. If you have a feature request, please reach out and contact me at email@example.com and I will do my best to accommodate.