The asensei youtube channel features livestream workouts from coach Eric Murray every week which are packed with insights and tips from one of rowing's all-time greats. In the Coaching Gold series we will highlight some of Eric's tips and insights from his Q&A sessions at the end of each workout - this time we focus on the force curve.
What's better, a smooth force curve or higher peak power?
In response to a comment from asensei user Troy during the post-workout debrief of the PHYSICS! livestream, Coach Eric Murray explains how he likes to think about the force curve. Eric has previously told us that he used the force curve feature on the rowing machine pretty religiously when training on the indoor rowing machine in preparation for the Olympics and here's some more insight.
You don't have to use the force curve religiously, but throwing it in during the odd piece is a great tool to check your rhythm and your form.
We want the force curve to be smooth, if it's a little bit front ended or a little bit back ended, it's not the end of the world, but watch out for jagged parts which generally mean your rowing technique might be a bit out of sequence. We're trying to avoid blips such as when you push the legs then introduce the body.
It's not always going to look perfect and it's not always going to look smooth, so don't get hung up on it, but the smoother the curve the smoother your stroke. A smooth force curve means you are using your energy the right way, so it's going to mean you are more efficient overall which ultimately means you will be able to maintain your pace for longer. So if you are going to do a 2k test on your erg, if you've got a jagged curve going on it might mean when you get to the last 600m you might already be cooked, but if you are nice and smooth you might only hit that with 300m (or less!) to go, meaning you gain a few seconds and that's really what this is all about.
A smooth curve means relaxation and relaxation means speed. Try and get the flywheel moving in one continuous motion.
So Eric's key advice: first and foremost concentrate on making your curve nice and smooth.
Troy, with your smooth curve you're right on track!
Watch Eric explain in his own words in the excerpt below (3mins):
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The asensei app tracks your force curve information, but right now the only way to view it is via the Concept 2 PM5 monitor during a workout as explained in the video above. On other rowing machines you may need to listen to the coaching cues in the asensei app and rely on feel to improve, or you can book personal video coaching sessions with Eric via email@example.com.