FITNESS | BALANCE | ROWING
By Andreas Pirscher, 12.04.2021
We met in Georgette’s foot therapy studio in Zurich, where there is a beautiful First Degree Rower, model Viking 3 Plus. Joining Georgette and me for this test was Paulo Dworakowski. Paulo is a physiotherapist and an experienced Masters rower from the Polytechnic Rowing Club Zurich. Paulo competed in the 1980 Olympic Games in the single sculls.
For the direct comparison, I brought along a WaterRower, which we placed right next to the First Degree Rower. We equipped both rowers with the FlowRow Boards. The test could begin.
First, we tested both rowers with the FlowRow Board Training Plus (difficulty level 3 out of 6) and then with the FlowRow Board Challenge (difficulty level 4 out of 6). It seemed to all three of us that the WaterRower was a little easier to balance than the First Degree Rower. The WaterRower somehow behaved a little more elegantly, while the First Degree Rower was a little more untamed. This was especially the case when starting rowing. After a few rowing strokes you get used to the First Degree Rower and can get it tamed.
We had a theory that the First Degree Rower might need one step more stable FlowRow Boards to feel the same level of difficulty.
So, we tried the First Degree Rower with difficulty level 4 and the WaterRower with difficulty level 5. But it became quite clear that the WaterRower was now really more challenging to balance. Next, we tested all the levels again head to head (First Degree vs. WaterRower).
The First Degree rower behaves like a nervous racehorse and the WaterRower is a slightly more relaxed racehorse, to stay in the picture. But if we adjust to the two racehorses, we still need roughly the same coordination skills and sense of balance at the same difficulty level.
Finally, we tested both racehorses with the FlowRow Board Ultra (difficulty level 6 out of 6). Now even the WaterRower lost its composure and became really nervous. Or was it rather us rowers who got nervous? The best thing is to try it out for yourself.
At the end, of course, I wanted to know from Georgette what the advantage was of the barefoot shoes she had on display in her showroom.
I learned that my normal shoe squeezes the foot so tightly that the foot cannot assume its natural shape. So, the foot is constantly under tension. If I allow the foot to take its natural shape, the tension will decrease and so will the tension in the whole body. And it will be much easier for me to keep my balance. With the sense of balance, I came full circle that day.
I decided that trying out barefoot shoes will be one of my next projects.
This video shows the FlowRow Board for First Degree Fitness tested in the PediPower Studio in Zurich