The event, organised by Ulm University and the German Rowing Federation on behalf of FISA, the international rowing federation behind World Rowing, focused on the latest scientific and technological rowing developments and on and its applicability for sports teams, coaches and medical teams. The event was packed with seminars, workshops and sponsored workshops, incentivising a constructive dialogue between every interested party.
National rowing team coaches were particularly eager to test the machine and experience the unique Aquafeel technology, which has been designed to more accurately mimic the stroke profile of on-water rowing.
To explain further, Technogym’s research and innovation managers Giuseppe Fedele and Davide De Remigis were invited to speak at the conference about the research that has been carried out at Technogym’s Health and Research Lab in Italy during Skillrow development.
An indoor rower made for athletes, by athletes
The Technogym team dedicated the first phases of the project visiting rowing clubs as well as inviting Italian national team rowers such as world champion Bruno Rosetti to take part in tests at the Technogym lab. Technogym continues to work closely with Olympic medallists including Rio Men’s Eights gold medallist Scott Durant and Italian Olympic rowers Marcello Miani and Rossano Galtarossa.
“Working together with the engineering department and scientists at Technogym we set out to develop something entirely new, something that could elevate rowing to the next level.”
Kleshnev’s research showed the resistance curve experienced on popular rowing machines at the time was very different to that of an actual on-water rowing stroke. Rowing machines gave high initial resistance at the start of the stroke, which rapidly reduced towards the finish, whereas rowing on the water provided a more consistent resistance from start to finish of the stroke.
Such shortcomings in existing products motivated Technogym to develop the patented “Aquafeel” technology in Skillrow.
After a long process of prototyping, testing and refining together with researchers at Loughborough University, centre of excellence within the Technogym network and leading UK sports science institute, Technogym created a machine that provided exactly the same metabolic load as the leading competitor’s products, while also offering an improved resistance curve, with lower initial handle velocity at the catch.
Lastly, the final and most vital stage of testing was to ensure the accuracy between machines. This was a particularly important point for coaches, because they require extremely accurate machines to test their athletes’ comparative strength when selecting their strongest crews for competition.
Real Challenge experience with Skillrow app
Of the many software features demonstrated however, of most interest to the coaches present was the connected racing technology developed for Skillrow.
It means that just like in real rowing, the more synchronised the crew are in their application of power through the rowing stroke, the faster they will go. Synchronisation is measured in Skillrow by measuring both catch timing and peak force of each rower and then computing the crew average. Skillrow then shows each individual how well they are synchronised with the rest of their crew. Like in a real rowing boat, an out of sync crew will be slower than a synchronised crew.
While rowing is notoriously slow to adopt new products, the Italian national team - one of the best in the world currently - is already training on the Skillrow. With the myriad features and extensive research behind it, it looks to be just a matter of time before many more national teams follow suit.