Weight & Age Adjusted Rowing Challenges

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Weight & Age Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:08 pm

Elsewhere in the forum, I committed to doing a 1mile TT prior to Grimsby IRC, and a 2km TT prior to Bristol IRC. I cannot attend these events, but I wanted to be 'there in spirit'. I don't imagine I'm the only one in this boat (pun intended), and so I'd like to encourage others to do the same. But how best to encourage participation?

A week or so back I stumbled across a reference to ELM (which I vaguely recall from when I just joined the team) and the following idea started to form in my mind... Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges.

What do I mean by this? Well, in the week leading up to, say, Grimsby IRC, all non-attending FS members would be invited to submit their best time for 1mile, along with their current weight. For attending FS members, their actual race time would be used (as long as their weights were also submitted). C2's weight adjustment formula would then be used to produce adjusted times for male and females, and points could be awarded accordingly. Points could possibly also be awarded based on actual time, with the two points combined. The challenge winner would be the male and female with the most points.

The same could be done for Bristol IRC and, indeed, any competition in the future. And it doesn't need to be a competition - during the 'quiet' months it could be a random challenge each month.

What do you think? Does it sound interesting? Is it something you'd participate in? Any changes you'd make to the idea?
Last edited by AlanS on Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by hewitt » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:17 pm

http://concept2.co.uk/rns/adjustment

This is the way that RowPro do the adjustments.
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by webberg » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:23 pm

Alan, this is something that I've dabbled with from time to time and I used to have a database of weights and times over various distances from which I was going to produce a handicap system.

These efforts went to waste when I did some additional work to try and correlate height as well as weight.

Rowing is one of those events where a good "big 'un" will always beat a very good "little 'un" because of the laws of physics which say that long levers are more efficient than short levers.

Look at the rowers with say sub 6:30 times for 2k. The statistics I had indicated that around 80% of them are taller than the average. The very best of them tend to be in the upper two/three ticks of the distribution curve for height.

Some further analysis indicated that a 6' LWT would usually score better (certainly over distances up to 2k) than a 5'8" HWT. The differences tend to start to even out at 5k and above but the data is insecure as these are not regularly raced.

I did try to devise a system to bring in weight, height and age. The Nonathlon is a good start for age adjustment although their algorithm is weighted too much at the older population in my view. I think C2 has an age adjustment factor but I have not been able to find the dataset on which it's based.

If those two were accurate however the weight adjustment would work so long as taller rowers accepted a handicap.

The key question then is what is the age/height/weight of your average rower?

UK statistics say that a healthy male born in 1991 might expect to reach around 5'10" if he is in the UK. If you were French it would be slightly shorter. If Dutch, slightly taller. The average height of male Olympian rower is 6'3.5".

This though is a great idea and a simpel system would be great (so long as I could grow by about 6 inches).

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Daffy » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:59 pm

Would you want me to declare my weight on an open forum?!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: I daren't even look at the scales in a locked bathroom at the moment!
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by JonathanA » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:15 pm

daffyducky wrote:Would you want me to declare my weight on an open forum?!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: I daren't even look at the scales in a locked bathroom at the moment!
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:49 pm

Thanks for the link, Jason. I wasn't aware that C2 had an age algorithm too. Could be interesting. I'll take a look.

Graham, thanks for all your thoughts. It would be fantastic to be able to take all these factors, including height, into account. However, for the sake of simplicity, weight (and possibly age) should suffice for this.

Jane, you wouldn't need to declare your weight in public. That could be submitted privately. Of course, if both your actual and weight-adjusted times were made available, your weight could be calculated. So maybe actual times stay secret...

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Mat » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:14 pm

This one is an interesting suggestion Alan, and I also read Graham's thoughts with interest too (and am generally in agreement with most of them) :-k

The problem with this kind of adjustment is that it may work very well for elite rowers. In their case it may be reasonably fair to say that in the case of two chaps, each standing 6'3" in their bare feet, one weighing say 89kg and the other 107kg, that the additional 18kg is most likely to be lean muscle tissue which provides a distinct advantage in their performance.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case for most of the indoor rowing community. The reason I used the above weight examples is that heavier of those chaps was me in my mid thirties, and the second me at my current weight. The extra 18kg that I carried then was certainly not lean muscle, and the weight adjustment tables would simply take my mid-thirties 2k time of 6:42 up to 7:12 (30s adjustment) whilst increasing my current pace by only 10s - thus penalising the rather cumbersome Mat of 6 years ago for lugging all that extra weight up and down the slide :!: :roll:

Clearly it is not possible to have a weight adjustment factor that makes allowance for any additional fat that doesn't contribute to performance, so I'm not sure how this can be taken into account. I guess it's only for fun anyway so it doesn't really matter :fsbgrin: :fsbgrin:

PS. Of course I'm more than happy to take part, but I guess that I would say that - as someone closer to the non-existent "middleweight" category than the true heavyweight I'd probably fare reasonably well
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by zootMutant » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:27 pm

Mat wrote:Clearly it is not possible to have a weight adjustment factor that makes allowance for any additional fat that doesn't contribute to performance, so I'm not sure how this can be taken into account. I guess it's only for fun anyway so it doesn't really matter :fsbgrin: :fsbgrin:
So the adjustment would have to be based on lean muscle mass (using a % body fat calculation)? Not sure how to do this, mind, I'm just asking.
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:12 pm

Mat, I agree that weight alone isn't necessarily a useful factor, and that including %age of fat would make it more useful more often. However, you're also right in saying this would only be for fun, and if factoring in weight (however crudely) encourages participation, then it will have worked.

I'm currently thinking of awarding points based on actual time and adjusted time, with the latter being worth twice as many points as the former. So the overall winner of each challenge wouldn't purely be based on the fastest adjusted times, but they would play the larger part. Will try that points system for the first challenge anyway and see how it goes.

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Mike Channin » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:11 pm

I'd be very interested in how you get on with this, Alan. I've done similarish stuff in the past - looking to normalise results across weight and age.

As far as the adjusting for % body fat - I think that is going a bit far ;-) Part of the value of this kind of thing is isolating the things that we can change (absolute performance, fitness, amount of excess lard we're carrying) from the things we can't (height, age, basic physical frame/weight), and overcome the fact that indoor rowing (in basic form, as a pure power sport with no penalty for weight) is inherently biased towards the bigger rower.

The nonathlon is a great example of a system by which rowers of different sizes and ages and genders can compete on relatively even terms, but even that is prone to issues of sample sizes and bias in the source data used to generate the relative performance benchmarks.

I'd be intrigued to see how the C2 Race Night type normalisation would work out applied across the wider spectrum of rowers - I suspect it will show up how great the performances of people like Odd and Mat are. And yes, it would require that people declare their weight (and are reasonably accurate about it), unless we can generate a magic spreadsheet allowing people to just report their result (a project for another day, or maybe Thomas when he is not rowing ;-) )

Indoor Rowing as a competition sport (IMHO) is not terribly inclusive, in that it only favours (approximately) the bottom and top 25% of rowers by size, leaving the rest of us in the middle with no possibility of competing on even terms (which is why I've 'retired' from racing, and probably why you will find a very obvious lack of medium sized rowers at any race event). I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons that Indoor Rowing hasn't got on and addressed the need for at least one additional weight class is just the simple logistics of requiring most of the competitors to weigh-in, compared to current events where only 1/4 to 1/3 have to.
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Mike Channin » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:59 pm

So, Alan - are you going to run anything along these lines then?

There are a number of challenges and races ongoing and upcoming which would be suitable for use for this, provided you can get people to 'sign up'...
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:52 am

Mike Channin wrote:So, Alan - are you going to run anything along these lines then?
Yes, I'll do one to tie in with the Grimsby mile in a couple of weeks and see how things go. The fact it will also be the C2 Challenge Series distance for October should hopefully ensure a good 'turnout'.

I'll keep things nice and simple, too. The adjustment will be based on weight alone, with separate leaderboards for male and female.

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Mike Channin » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:46 pm

Actually - you can get all the info to generate a sample set from the C2 Challenge site, as most people have entered their weights and times there (and you'd just exclude those who don't have a weight entered). I think you're gonna find out that Odd and Mat are superstars who punch way beyond their weight!
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by J-Dog » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:28 am

I'll give it a go and be an unusual sample: still new to the sport and around 88 kg with a high fat ratio (probably).

Good for people like me (who want to reduce fat as much as improve times) would be a longer-term 'ladder' or at least repeated comparisons: that way training a bit more and not having that extra slice of banoffee pie both improve my performance - I either go faster, or weigh less, or both. I guess when I'm 10% fat (or whatever Olympic rowers are), and weight = muscle, I'll be worrying about whether the scaling factors are right :-)

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:54 pm

That's an interesting perspective, J-Dog. I guess if we kept going with these challenges long enough to start repeating sessions, that would give you what you want - you'd be able to see if your actual times, adjusted times, or both, improved between challenges.

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:40 pm

We're now well into the first of the challenges. Are there any immediate areas for improvement? I'm wondering if we should do away with combined points for actual and adjusted times, and just have a simple rank based on adjusted times. Would this get general agreement?

I've also come up with a crude age factor formula based on British records data on the C2 site over 1km, 2km and 5km. I'll explain it in words first then attempt to show some examples.
  • Anyone under the age of 40 gets no age adjustment.
  • Anyone between 40 and 50 gets a 0.5% improvement for each year above 40.
  • Anyone between 50 and 70 gets a 1% improvement for each year above 50, plus the 0.5% improvement for each year in their 40s.
  • Anyone between 70 and 90 gets a 1.5% improvement for each year above 70, plus the 1% improvement for each year in their 50s and 60s, plus the 0.5% improvement for each year in their 40s.
  • Anyone above the age of 90 gets a 2% improvement for each year above 90, plus the 1.5% improvement for each year in their 70s and 80s, plus the 1% improvement for each year in their 50s and 60s, plus the 0.5% improvement for each year in their 40s.
A 49 year old would get a 4.5% adjustment (9 x 0.5)
A 54 year old would get a 9% adjustment ((4 x 1) + (10 x 0.5))
A 73 year old would get a 28.5% adjustment ((3 * 1.5) + (20 * 1) + (10 x 0.5))

Anyone care to comment on this? And on whether this should be incorporated into next month's WAARC (Weight and Age Adjusted Rowing Challenge)?

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Shang-Chi » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:45 pm

This looks/sounds more fair, Alan. Not only weight adjusted but also age-adjusted will bring us closer to each other and make it more interesting :D
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by stumpy » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:55 pm

Sounds good to me. :wink:
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by plummy » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Why not test it with the results you have for the mile so far (you should have the relative ages in the signatures - assuming they are up to date). See what it throws up!
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:20 pm

Here you go:
201210 waarc - 1mile.jpg
201210 waarc - 1mile.jpg (35.98 KiB) Viewed 8958 times
Certainly mixes things up a bit. And causes me to plumet like a stone towards the bottom. :lol:

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by stumpy » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:50 pm

Me thinks Strider is going to like this new system. :lol:
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by plummy » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:59 pm

Without wanting to overcomplicate things, could you have a column for only weight adjusted and then one for weight and age adjusted (for comparison) - I know you can't influence your age (despite what the billions spent on TV advertisements would have you believe) but it may show a bump or two in the maths that require a minor tweak.
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by AlanS » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:12 pm

Your wish is my command:
201210 waarc - 1mile.jpg
201210 waarc - 1mile.jpg (33.21 KiB) Viewed 8941 times
Philip's adjusted time does look a little fast. Maybe restricting my dataset to British records is wrong, and World records would be more accurate (given this challenge is not restricted to Brits).

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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Shang-Chi » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:05 pm

Well now it will be impossible to be number one! :lol:
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Re: Weight Adjusted Rowing Challenges

Post by Mike Channin » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:28 pm

Erm, c2 have an age adjustment formula already worked out somewhere. Why not just use that?
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