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Should I Rig Heavier or Lighter?

Rigging questions are among the most common inquiries we hear. When you're trying to determine how to rig, what you really need to know is, "What should my load be?" Or, if we apply this concept to bicycle terms, "What "gear" should I race in?" 

The mechanics of boat rigging include many variables and coaches can usually only get generalized answers from their mentors. Too heavy a load can get you off the starting line quicker, but you pay for it later in the race.  Too light of a load and it feels like you are spinning your wheels and going nowhere.  There is a balance, and finding that balance comes with time, on-the-water testing with your team, and identifying these telltale indicators that you're not optimally rigged:

1. Watch for the two part drive. A two part drive is almost always a sign of the load being too heavy.  It looks like a slight stall in the drive once the legs have initiated the drive and where the body swing wants to start opening toward the bow. The drive should look continuous with no visible changes in speed.

2. Another telltale sign is if your crew cannot sustain a level pull-through with the arms in toward the body, tending instead to arc toward the lap. Lap pulling usually means the rower can no longer keep the handle accelerating to the body and it is being forced toward the lap. Often times this is due to a load the rower cannot sustain.

3. Too light of a load may be harder to see, but if your crew can handle ratings higher than expected or are able to run a sprint pace much higher than expected, the load could be too light.  Another view is the drive looking just too quick through the water with the accompanying lack of run per stroke.

More Questions? Be sure to visit the RESOLUTE ZONE for detailed videos, downloads, resources, and our personalized "Ask the Expert" section where you can ask us anything.

Contributed by Z Sales Team Rep, Casey Baker