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Rowing/Rudern: The GDR Text of Oarsmanship Paperback – September 1, 1987

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From the Author

Because of the great demand for this rowing textbook, the original publisher and the author have developed a Fourth Edition. In this edition, we have held to the principle of rendering a text that will impart sufficient basic knowledge of rowing theory and provide an introduction to special training theory. Particular emphasis was placed on maintaining a correlation with the book Principles of Sports Training by Dr. D. Harre in both content and terminology.

Tables, numbers, and statistics have been supplemented with the latest Fourth Edition results.

The general layout of the text should ensure that oarsmen and women can themselves acquire the necessary theoretical knowledge to practice their selected sport activity.

Finally, with this edition we wish to satisfy the requests of other countries for a comprehensive text on rowing.

We hope this Fourth Edition satisfies these demands and wish our athletes continued success in the future.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Under "rowing" we include sports activity in racing boats and gigs propelled by sculls or oars. Competitive rowing has been recognized as an Olympic discipline for men since 1896 and for women since 1976.

Rowing in the heavier, but steadier gigs is reserved principally for training, trek rowing (recreational rowing combined with touring and camping), and competitive sport at only a local level. Basically, anyone of good health and able to swim can learn rowing.

The principal objectives of the sport of rowing in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR):

1. The achievement of high performances in competitive rowing for men, women, and youths base on a wide membership, on a comprehensive and systematic basic training, and on a party and class-conscious education of the oarsman into a socialist sports personality.

2. The expansion of rowing as a popular sport to maintain the health of and provide relaxation for workers and youths, principally through trek rowing.

3. The scientific examination of all important practical and theoretical aspects of rowing.

These objectives present a wide variety of tasks. In many ways they are interrelated. The intention of this book is to apply theoretical knowledge to the execution of these tasks and to give instruction on the development of skills and capabilities. Socialist teaching is an integral component of all these tasks (model not shown).

Rowing as a sport is important for the following reasons:

1. Rowing has a top-class rating for an overall development of the body, since its sequence of movements demands the use of the chief muscle groups of the entire body and since the development of strength, endurance, and agility are promoted approximately equally.

2. Rowing can be practiced by both sexes, from childhood right into advanced age.

3. The wide variety of different boat classes, from the eight to the single, allows every athlete a choice to suit his or her physical and mental characteristics.

4. Living together in the boathouse or on treks and collective activity in training and competition open up a wealth of educational opportunities, which help form model citizens.

5. Trek rowing is emotionally highly stimulating, contributes substantially to health, and is an intelligent use of leisure time.

6. Besides physical exertion, the constant coming-to-grips with apparatus and with water and wind conditions demands high powers of insight, readiness, reaction, and intellectual qualities from the oarsman.

Sports rowing includes the techniques of sculling and rowing with the oar. In this connection we shall examine for the different boat classes the predominant factors of propulsion which form the most appropriate technique for achieving high performances and which determine the particular kind of instruction required. This sport, involving as it does equipment and the impact of the environment (water and wind conditions), demands a knowledge of many branches of natural science. With the idea of competition to the fore, the generally accepted theories and methods of preparation are adopted for training and competitive performance, and specific aspects of the sport are examined with a view towards improving performance. The sport of rowing is especially valuable for the extent to which it integrates educational, body-building, and emotional components.

Principles of Rowing Terminology:

At the outset, we would like to point out a particular concern of this book. Wherever the technical terms we use are universally understood to all oarsmen, we simplify the scientific meaning through the use of uniform terminology. The seating arrangement (back to direction of travel), the opposing direction of movement, and the differing lines of vision (oarsman - cox) need to be kept in mind for an understanding of the following chapter.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Sport Book Pub; 4 Updated edition (September 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0772722064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0772722065
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,185,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for any elite or would be elite rower.
If you follow the principles in this book of being a good GDR boy or're bound to improve your rowing immeasurably.
It covers pretty much everything from physiology, to boat construction, to history, to training diary ideas and even Socialist principles of the elite German Socialist rower...
The only thing this doesn't include is a 'how to' guide to implement the East German doping technique which they all pretty much used through the 70s and 80s! ;-)
Otherwise, a great read...not for the beginner or recreational rower though, unless you're very keen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is the East German (remember them?) rowing bible from the 1970s. The training and technique instructional material is useful even today, and the book is filled with other information you never even knew you didn't know, like the proper minimum dimensions for boathouses, boat storage racks, and the like. Translated from German, and as a result not an especially exciting piece of literature, but entertaining nonetheless. The brief comments on why the coxswain must be an avid Party person (and they aren't referring to Saturday night; this is political) are a real hoot.

David Lynch
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By ChuckSRQ on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rudern is basically an in depth primer for crew coaches. A coach would no doubt take more from this book than rowers themselves. Although the book does not cover technique in as much depth as others, it covers many other aspects crucial to coaching crew. Entire chapters are devoted to rigging, beginner training, endurance training, strength training... etc

While much of the information you can find in Rudern can also be found in many other books and would be more current, I would highly recommend buying this one for it's interesting and different perspective on rowing. There are random lines of communist propaganda throughout the book, encouraging the coach to teach "socialist" values and to teach members of the crew to be a part of the collective, but they are infrequent and rarely conflict with good rowing habits.

The East Germans won many Olympic Medals in rowing and this book shows how they studied the science of rowing for the benefit of the sport. This book is great for anyone who coaches crew. Knowing I have a little knowledge passed down from the East Germans in my rowing library is also kinda cool.
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Format: Paperback
A concise yet complete text on the sport of rowing (as of 1983 or so), yet many of the technical princples hold today. Rowing/Rudern provides an interesting historical perspective on the socialist slant of the former East Germany towards the sport. Good for a chuckle if nothing more.
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