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Force Curve Smoothness and Peak Force %

This page describes the Force Curve Screen, only available to rowers during an active piece.

Navigating to the Force Curve Screen

  1. Connect the RowHero app to the PM5.
  2. Set up the PM5 to start either a single or interval time, distance, or calorie piece. RowHero should turn into a landscape view showing you one of many screens. If you already see a screen which looks like the screenshot below, you’re on the right page. Otherwise, keep going.
  3. Swipe left or right to toggle between screens until you find the Force Curve Screen.

The Force Curve Screen

Every stroke you pull, the screen will refresh with the latest force curve and a few stats which describe your curve. See below for more information on each part of the screen.

  1. Smoothness. A RowHero-specific measure that indicates how “pushed out” the rower’s force curve is (the blue line in #3). In other words, it compares the actual force curve (blue line) to the ideal, pushed-out curve for that stroke (orange line). Smooth force application creates faster boats. We define “Smoothness” as a number from 0 to 10 that represents how close your force curve (blue line) is to the version of your force curve without concave sections (orange line). We typically recommend that athletes who hit 9.7 or above have good force application that will transfer to the water. 9.9 or above is excellent.
  2. Peak Force %. How far into the stroke (% of overall drive time) you apply the maximum force to the handle.
  3. Force Curve. The blue line represents the force curve of the stroke the rower just pulled. It’s the same as the force curve shown on the PM5 monitor. The orange dashed line represents what the stroke should have looked like if the rower’s force application was as smooth as possible for their force profile. The closer the blue line is to the orange line, the closer to 10 the Smoothness metric will be.
  4. Peak Force Line. This vertical gray dashed line is the position at which the rower applied the maximum amount of force during this stroke. This line corresponds to the Peak Force % metric.
  5. Peak Force Target Range. Apply peak force in this range (shown as 23% – 35% above) to pull a Precision Stroke. Athletes, you can adjust this range by tapping or dragging on the force curve chart. Team workouts must have their ranges set by coaches in the Team Settings menu.
  6. Precision Bar. This is a fun way to stay engaged during longer workouts. Every stroke gives the rower an opportunity to build a streak of “Precision Strokes.” A Precision Stroke is any stroke with a Smoothness number of 9.7 or above and a Peak Force % within the Target Range. The check marks in the top center of the screen count the total number of Precision Strokes the rower pulls in a row. That streak count shows above the word “STREAK” on the top-right of the screen. The total number of Precision Strokes is highlighted above the word “TOTAL.”

A Note on Peak Force

Peak Force % is a great cue to see if you apply force in a way that optimally moves the boat, regardless of how strong you are. The goal Peak Force % depends on what type of boat you row. Boats with faster hulls (8+ and 4x) benefit most from an earlier peak. They don’t slow down much in between strokes, so you need to get the blade in the water and apply a lot of force quickly to build speed. It’s like trying to keep a bicycle wheel spinning. You “tap it along”—a coaching cue I’m sure many of you have used.

Boats with slower hulls (1x and 2-) benefit from a later peak. They slow down significantly in between strokes, so keeping the boat moving is more of a gradual build to the finish than it is a lightning fast leg drive.

RP3 Rowing recommends a peak of 32 – 38% for fast hulls and 45 – 50% for slower ones.

Before you get too absorbed into specific percentage ranges, remember to start simple and meet your athletes where they are. We recommend first to use Peak Force % as a way to see which athletes pull vastly different stroke profiles compared to the rest of your team. When you know who’s significantly different or inconsistent, you can work with them directly on their stroke.

See Train Boat Movers This Winter for more information on how you can use this screen to create good habits in winter.

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