Adequate Ankle ROM= high quality, efficient stroke
There is a slight heel lift as part of the recovery, the drive only begins after the heels touch down and the blade locks onto the water. Energy is efficiently applied to boat speed, and a straight course. Elastic energy can be used as we begin to apply force to the footplate. The bigger, stronger muscles (glutes and hamstrings) are able to engage early on in the drive.
Imagine stretching a rubber band back so it’s taut. Now launch 🚀 that rubber band across the room. That’s the elastic potential. Take that same rubber band and try to launch it across the room without stretching it, that’s closer to what you get with too much flexibility/improper rigging.
Excessive Ankle ROM = over-compression, lack of elastic potential, late drive
Blake Gourley holds a Masters of Science in Sports Performance Training and has over 10 years of experience working with rowers. Read more