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How to Use Your PM5

Understanding Stroke Rate

Stroke rate is the number of strokes you take per minute, or spm (Strokes Per Minute). The PM displays this number in the upper right corner on every workout display.

For rowing, a stroke rate between 24 and 30 strokes per minute is typical for most workouts. When racing, stroke rates are generally a bit higher but usually still below 36.

For skiing, the stroke rate will generally be between 30 and 40.

An important notion to understand is that an increased stroke rate does not necessarily mean that you are working out with more intensity. Instead, the key to increasing intensity is knowing how and when to apply power. Focus on getting as much power as you can into each drive/pull. To focus on this power:

  • For rowing, think of using a ratio of one beat on each drive for every two beats on the recovery. In other words, don’t rush as you travel up the slide to take the next stroke. Instead, relax on the recovery as you prepare for the work of the next drive. See How to Row Harder for more information.
  • For skiing, the drive and recovery are generally much closer in length.

As you do this, watch the PM for immediate feedback on your intensity. As your intensity increases, your pace per 500 metres will decrease, and your watts and calories will increase. For more information on monitoring intensity, see Understanding and Changing Units.