Rowing Fitness Testing

There are several main physical attributes that are important for success in rowing. Rowers need to have a very good endurance capacity. Body size and composition also play an important role in the success of a rower - a low body fat level and being tall with a good reach. See our discussion of the Fitness Components for Rowing.

Athletes struggling to keep within their weight category need to have their body composition monitored regularly. See more about anthropometry for rowing.

Listed below are some suggested tests, there are many other tests that you could use (see the complete List of Fitness Tests). See also an example of tests that are used for the recruiting rowers for the AIS eTID program and the Australian Rowing NTID Program.

rowing ergoSuggested Rowing Fitness Tests

Example results for a Rower

Here is an example of a series of tests performed on Australian Olympic rower, Drew Ginn, conducted in 2009 (as detailed in the Herald Sun Newspaper). A summary of his results are in the table below. He has a very good aerobic score on the VO2max test, as expected for a rower. More important though is his absolute VO2max score (l/min not per kg body weight), as rowers have their body weight supported by the boat.

Fitness Test Result
body mass (kg) 85.7
height (cm) 195.6
Skinfolds, sum of 7 sites (mm) 33.3
Grip Strength (kg) 52
1RM Bench Press (kg) 100
Vertical Jump (cm) 53
Sit and Reach (cm) +18
VO2max (ml/kg/min) 67


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