- Do you overtrain?
- Do you undertrain?
Do you know where your optimum level is between these two extremes?
The goal of training is to make the heart more efficient and increase its power output.
A special Rowperfect feature for monitoring progress is the Performance Factor. If a heart rate monitor is installed, the system uses the heart rate and the power generated by the rower to calculate the energy dissipated per heartbeat (Performance Factor).
The performance factor is a very powerful tool for optimising the performance of a rower and a crew. Like an engine, a rower has a certain combination of work per stroke and stroke rate where his body works at its highest efficiency. At too heavy a gearing, the rower will not be able to exhaust himself, because his muscles give up prematurely, and at too light a gearing the rower cannot use the force of his muscles to their full extent. His optimal performance lies somewhere in between.
From our experience we know that the loss in performance of a rower or crew, when not geared correctly, may be as high as 10% of his or her power output. To obtain the best possible performance, it is therefore of prime importance to determine the optimal gearing/stroke rate combination for a rower and a crew.
This can be done most efficiently on the Rowperfect, by measuring the power output / stroke rate relation at various levels of gearing, and optimising for maximum performance factor, subsequently transferring the same "feel" of gearing to the boat.
So, are all heart rate monitors the same?
No, the Rowperfect can very accurately predict heart rate training zones for on-water sessions—yet another advantage that the co-ordination pattern used is the same as the boat. However heart rate determined on a single action machine may be quite different to on-water due to the different muscles used.
Heart monitoring also provides an early warning system for health problems or over-training. An example thereof is given in the graph below.
This graph shows the performance of a novice girl during aerobic training on the Rowperfect. Below the horizontal axis are the date and the duration of the aerobic training in minutes, the right hand axis indicates the average power and the average heart frequency during the training, the right hand axis presents the Performance Factor. During the first three weeks of December training had been interrupted due to a health problem.
Clearly the dip in Performance Factor can be seen and the graphs show that in the second week of January recovery was complete. A similar pattern with other rowers has been found in cases of anaemia and of over-training.