20 May 2004 03:58:37
sue t
arm and leg length

The "RSR is very dull" thread brought up a point I've been curious about for
some time. So much time is spent dickering with rigging as we attempt to
get the perfect set-up to achieve maximum speed.

But our bodies aren't perfect.
Legs different length (plus heel to knee or knee to hip are different).
Arms different length.

Or we hold the oars (sculling) at different points on the grip.
Or we sit on the seat slightly askew so we better fit the rig.

So, has anyone adjusted their rigging to suit their body imperfections?
Changed their foot stretchers to adapt to different leg lengths?

I recently put a 1/4" felt sole into my left shoe, to accommodate a
difference in leg length. Result was less stress on my right knee, meaning
less ache in my knee. I also notice even pressure on my feet at the finish.
Big bonus was less stress on my lower back, translating to less lower back
fatigue. I no longer have to roll out of my seat onto the dock at the end
of a row. Although, many people found my "roll out of the seat" technique
very humourous. However, it was the only way I could get out of the boat!
Then I would crawl around on the dock on hands and knees until I could stand
up ... how pathetic is that? One little felt sole fixed it. Duh!

20 May 2004 22:47:54
Jamie Croly
Re: arm and leg length etc

Hi Sue

Different leg length is a very common "defect" and just about everyone
has a discrepancy between their legs. It is only when the difference
is quite large 1.5 - 2cm that we may have to resort to inserts. I
have seen several crews at Worlds particularly sculling boat with
inserts in the shoe or a plate under the shoe to accomodate for leg

I believe that rig on a boat must be highly specific and suited to the
individual. Unfortunately in clubs where crews share boats this is not
often the case and we have to make do.

Body length - change height. The hand height at the catch should be
just below shoulder height (6 degrees below)

Leg length - Change footboard horizontal position. Choose either a
finish angle for the oar and mark it on the saxboard or choose a
distance through the work. I prefer a finish angle (32.5) because even
if your slide is the same distance as the person in front/behind the
length of your body and therefore (asuming the same angle of layback)
the height you draw the finish to will increase or decrease the length
of the finish.

Shin length - height of footboard. I see many rowers particularly
juniors whose long bones grow before their trunk rowing with knees in
front of their eyes and having to row around their legs rather than
being able to row above their knees. Knees should not be higher than
armpits if you are sitting with good posture at the catch.

Shoulder breadth - change span. Interesting one this. Some of my
friends on the national team have talked to some of the top scullers
and found that they are often cramped with conventianal rigging
measurements. Apparently Derek Porter was at the time rowing 162cm
span just so that he felt comfortable in the middle of the stroke. I
think this makes sense as in many instances we rig for lightweight
women and heavy men with only slight changes in span (1-2cm) yet some
of these guys are about twice as wide as the LW Women. Obviously oars
are then adjusted accordingly.

Footboard Angle - more flexible = more angle 45 degrees, less
flexible = less angle 42 degrees

Then use your nice adjustable oars to find the right gearing that
allows you to rate 36-38 down the course.