December 01, 2006
Rowing, obviously, is a speed sport. The rowers who complete 2000 meters in the fastest time take home gold medals. When you train on an indoor rowing machine, speed is critical, but power output is equally important. Assessing speed and power combined gives a more complete picture of the athlete than measuring speed alone.
In CrossFit workouts, we often have participants of varying sizes competing against each other for space on the white board. Obviously, having a larger mass is beneficial and enables the athlete to pull faster times, cover more meters, and burn a greater number of calories. (This is one of the reasons that on-the-water rowing competitions divide athletes into lightweight and heavyweight categories.) To make results as comparable as possible—and as meaningful as possible in terms of power output and intensity—we can calculate each participant’s power ratio, which is the total wattage he or she generates divided by body weight (in pounds).