Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Joshua Weinhandl

Committee Members

Songning Zhang, David R. Bassett


Rowing at the elite level requires proper sequencing of the rowing stroke so that the rower is able to produce an efficient stroke while protecting oneself from potential injuries. The cyclic motion of the rowing stroke sequence at low loads often results in overuse injuries, specifically in the lower back. Kinematic data of rower’s pelvis-lumbar-thoracic spine were collected using inertial measurement sensors. An incremental step-test was conducted to observe the influence of increasing intensities on the lumbar-pelvis and lumbar-thoracic segments coordination and coordination variability. This study provides a new way of quantifying rowing kinematics using vector coding. The vector coding technique used in this study quantifies the relative motion and variability in lumbar-pelvis and thoracic-lumbar couplings during the rowing stroke. Rowers exhibited greater lumbar-pelvis coupling angle variability during the recovery-drive transition of the stroke sequence with increasing intensities, which may be necessary as the rower prepares for the added load applied when the oar is placed in the water. The findings from this study may also indicate that the low coupling angle variability during the drive and recovery phases of the rowing stroke could increase the demands placed on the lumbar and repeatedly stress the same surrounding tissues, potentially explaining the cause of overuse injuries seen in the sport.

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