Slide-based ergometer rowing: Effects on force production and neuromuscular activity


Corresponding author: Anders Vinther, RPT, PhD, Department of Medicine O, Physiotherapy Unit, Herlev University Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark. Tel: +45 44883801, Fax: +45 44883806, E-mail:;


Force production profile and neuromuscular activity during slide-based and stationary ergometer rowing at standardized submaximal power output were compared in 14 male and 8 female National Team rowers. Surface electromyography (EMG) was obtained in selected thoracic and leg muscles along with synchronous measurement of handle force and rate of force development (RFD). Compared to stationary conditions, slide-based peak force decreased by 76 (57–95) N (mean 95% CI) in males (P < 0.001) and 20 (8–31) N (P < 0.05) in females. Stroke rate increased (+10.7%) and late-phase RFD decreased (−20.7%) in males (P < 0.05). Neuromuscular activity in m. vastus lateralis decreased in the initial drive phase from 59% to 51% of EMGmax in males and from 57% to 52% in females (P < 0.01–0.05), while also decreasing in the late recovery phase from 20% to 7% in males and 17% to 7% in females (P < 0.01). Peak force and maximal neuromuscular activity in the shoulder retractors always occurred in the second quartile of the drive phase. In conclusion, peak force and late-phase RFD (males) decreased and stroke rate increased (males) during slide-based compared to stationary ergometer rowing, potentially reducing the risk of overuse injury. Neuromuscular activity was more affected in leg muscles than thoracic muscles by slide-based ergometer rowing.