Background: Research on biomechanics in rowing has mostly focused on the lumbar spine. However, injuries can also affect other body segments. Thus, the aim of this pilot study was to explore any potential variations in the kinematics of the cervical spine during two different stroke rates on the rowing ergometer in young rowers.
Methods: Twelve young rowers of regional or national level were recruited for the study. The experimental protocol consisted of two separate test sessions (i.e., a sequence of 10 consecutive strokes for each test session) at different stroke rates (i.e., 20 and 30 strokes/min) on an indoor rowing ergometer. Kinematics of the cervical spine was assessed using an inertial sensor capable of measuring joint ROM (angle of flexion, angle of extension, total angle of flexion–extension).
Results: Although there were no differences in the flexion and total flexion–extension movements between the test sessions, a significant increase in the extension movement was found at the highest stroke rate (p = 0.04, d = 0.66).
Conclusion: Young rowers showed changes in cervical ROM according to stroke rate. The lower control of the head during the rowing stroke cycle can lead to a higher compensation resulting in an augmented effort, influencing sports performance, and increasing the risk of injury.
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