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Research Question: Does the Drag Factor create any statistical difference in the average

Wattage for a 100 meter ergometer test when set at either a high versus low resistance?

In this research paper, you will learn about a highly controversial and debated topic in the rowing,

Cross-fit, and exercise communities, through understanding and reading the exploration as to whether or not

there is a more efficient or effective way at producing watts on an ergometer, through adjusting the resistance

to a certain degree.

Instructor: William Kiker

Date Submitted: Wednesday, May 27

Class Period: 7th

School Year: 2015

Table Of Contents

Page 3: Introduction

In modern day application, the Indoor Rowing Machine, also known as Ergometer, or Erg,

is used in many different ways. Nowadays, most gyms are stocked with multiple Ergometers for the

average gym rat to use. And while the people in the gym, simply trying to work on their cardio, are

most likely not concerned with the findings of this experiment, many rowers (ranging from the junior

to olympic level) definitely would be. Simply put, the purpose of this experiment is to reach a

conclusion as to if you adjust the resistance level, which basically makes rowing feel harder or

easier, will the watts that you pull have a statistically significant difference? The reason that most

average users of the Indoor Rowing Machine would not be overly concerned with this is because they

would most likely rather have their workout feel more comfortable, rather than changing the watts

that they pull by a very small margin. However, due to the widespread use of the Ergometer for

national team testing, recruiting, and lineup determination for rowers, if a certain resistance level

were to produce more watts, the rowing community would immediately shift to that certain resistance

as to obtain the fastest ergometer test times as possible (tests that measure how many meters you can

row in a said time, or vice versa). So, while the average person may not care about the exact wattage

difference between resistances, if there is one, it is still an interesting topic to many rowers, and

possibly many people as well, just due to the complexity of the sport of rowing and how the

ergometer effects a rowers career and life.

The main hypothesis that I have is that there will be no statistically significant difference in

wattage depending on the resistance level. This is due to the fact that while in most cases, competitive

rowers maintain a drag factor (resistance) of a 4-6 (from 1-10, with 10 being the most resistance),

each rower prefers it at a different setting, therefore I would assume that a 4-6 is simply the most

comfortable, on average, but it really is relative to the actual person. However, like previously stated,

if data were found that were to suggest that there is a difference between wattages from a certain

resistance to another, the rowing community would ignore comfortability and use whichever

resistance produces the best results. The overall population being investigated is Varsity Male rowers

at Texas Rowing Center. With me being in the position of Team Captain for the junior mens rowing

team, I have access to rowers to test this experiment on, yet not access to every rower in the state,

region, nation, or world. Therefore the most sensible population is the one that I have access to, which

is the Varsity Men at Texas Rowing Center.

The sampling procedure that took place was one that aimed to eliminate as many confounding

variables or unwanted variables as possible (Simple Random Sample). First, rowers from the Texas

Rowing Center Varsity Men were randomly selected, which was the population. Ten were selected.

The random process occurred from a calculator, in which the random integer function was used. Then,

the first subject would come onto an ergometer after warming up for one minute. Every rower

warmed up for exactly one minute to eliminate differing levels of preparation or warmth as a

confounding variable. All rowers rowed on the same ergometer (ergometer #8), also, in order to

reduce the confounding variable that the specific ergometer changed the wattage or resistance. The

rower would either start at a high resistance level (drag factor) of 185, or a low resistance level

(drag factor) of 90. Which one they would start on was randomly selected, also by using the random

integer function on the calculator. Then, if the said rower was randomly selected to row on the low

level, they would go to a function inside of the monitor of the ergometer, and row will the proctor

(myself) adjusted the resistance in order to display exactly 90. The said rower would then row a 100

meter piece, and they were instructed to pull as hard as they could, in order to eliminate the

confounding variable that the rower was pulling at different intensities for the low and hi

ergometer piece. Because it was a matched pairs test, the rower didnt have to be able to pull a certain

wattage, they just had to pull full pressure, which is subjective, for each piece, the low and hi

one. Upon completion of the piece, the rower would then hop off of the ergometer, and I would look

at the monitor and write down what their average wattage for the 100 meter piece was. The rower

would then go over to another ergometer, and paddle on the rowing machine in order to stay loose.

Each rower received exactly a five minute break in between pieces in order to replicate each subjects

ergometer piece and eliminate the confounding variable which is that some rowers were faster or

slower than others on their second piece due to their amount of rest. In order to simplify the timings,

the rowers would go in pairs. So one rower would complete one piece, hop off, stay loose on a

different erg, for five minutes, whilst another rower would in that time period complete their one

minute warm up, be randomly selected for either a hi or lo resistance, row in order to let me set

the drag factor to a perfect 185 or 90, respectively, then complete their piece, then when five minutes

are completed the first rower would row whichever level of resistance, hi or lo, they had not

already done. Then, when five minutes surpassed from the time when the second rower had

completed their first piece, the second rower would hop on the erg, and like the first rower, complete

whichever resistance level piece they had not done the first time. The scores would all be calculated,

in units of watts, and then another two rowers would come and the process would repeat. With 10

rowers that were randomly chosen, there were five groups of two. This was not pairing the rowers or

any sort of blocking, this just made keeping track of the time and rest much easier and effective.

Furthermore, the exact treatment imposed was the differing level of resistance; it is also the

explanatory variable.

One way in which this experiment may not have been representative of the population of Texas

Rowing Center Varsity Men is that the sample was fairly small. However, the population itself was

fairly small, but even so, a larger sample size most likely would have resulted in a more representative

selection of data and results from the population. The exact definition of the population, once again, is

the Texas Rowing Center Varsity Men. The sampling procedure is outline in the previous paragraph,

as well as randomization process. The assumptions are as follows: Simple Random Sample (yes),

Data is approximately normal (yes: see Figure 1 in Appendix), Data is Paired (matched pairs test),

Population Standard Deviation Unknown; use t test (yes), Each individual data is independent of the

next (yes), Population > 10 (10) (no) this condition is not met; therefore the data might not be perfect

but I am noting that this condition is not met and am continuing on. Furthermore, when looking at the

Normal Quantile Plot created in R (displayed in the Supporting Data section below), it is seen that

when fit with a line that would be perfectly normal, the NQP is fairly close to it, suggesting that the

data is approximately normal.

Now, onto the data itself and the calculations. A 1- Sample T Test was used, because the data is

paired so there would only be the differences, thus a 1- Sample. Since the true population standard

deviation was unknown, T Test was used. Then the calculations in R Studio were ran, and the

calculations were very basic. Simply, a t.test calculation in R Studio was run, after importing the

data via CSV file. I also created a histogram in order to display the level of normality. Then the mean

and standard deviation of the sample difference were run. The Null Hypothesis was that the true

population mean difference of average wattages for a 100 meter ergometer piece at a damper of 90

versus a damper of 185 equals zero. The alternative hypothesis is that the true population mean

difference of average wattages for a 100 meter ergometer piece at a damper of 90 versus a damper of

185 does not equal zero. The level of significance for this test was .05. The calculated P Value was

0.001172. This means that I reject the Null Hypothesis that the true population mean difference of

average wattages for a 100 meter ergometer piece at a damper of 90 versus a damper of 185 equals

zero due to the fact that the P Value is less than the level of significance. Thus, we have evidence to

suggest that there is a statistically significant difference in the true population mean difference of

average wattages for a 100 meter ergometer piece at a damper of 90 versus a damper of 185.

Furthermore, if the conclusion was to have been wrong through Rejecting the Null hypothesis, there

would have been a Type 1 error. The degrees of freedom was 9. The T Value was 4.67. A .05

significance level was used due to the fact that it is fairly strong, and also commonly accepted, so .05

was picked as the level of significance.

Furthermore, in this test I made use of all four mastery concepts. The first one, Exploring Data,

I employed by critically analyzing the data as a whole and noticing trends. What I noticed is that

people who weighed more, usually could produce more watts on their 100 meter piece. Also, for most

people, and most of the data, the higher resistance factor resulted in a much higher average wattage.

However, there were some people who had a fairly insignificant change. This leads me to believe that

the effect of the resistance may have more of an effect on some people rather than others. The second

concept, Sampling and Experimentation, I used while planning, conducting, and analyzing the

experiment. When planning the experiment, it was important to create randomization. I therefore

mastered that concept whilst planning the randomization portion. Furthermore, I had to plan out how

to remove the confounding variable of rest between 100 meter pieces. I also had to utilize that skill in

order to replicate the process of wattage testing between rowers. I analyzed the experiment when

using R Studio for my calculations and interpreting the value. Next, the theme of Anticipating

Patterns was used when the actual calculations were done, due to the fact that I had to take in account

the fact that the calculations were only based upon a normal curve, and if there were to be some sort

of natural random phenomena the data may have been incorrect, thus a Type 1 error. Finally,

Statistical Inference was used when calculating the data, since a population parameter was defined, a

P Value was calculated, and interoperated, and when attempting to make a valid conclusion. Due to

the low P Value, I was also able to reject my null Hypothesis, employing Statistical Inference skills.

Now, for the conclusion. The overall statistical conclusion of this data is that there is evidence

to suggest that a change in resistance of the ergometers drag factor does have a statistically

significant difference in the average wattage for a 100 meter piece. Furthermore, if we were to change

our alternative hypothesis to the true population mean difference being greater than 0, meaning that

the higher resistance (185) is able to produce more wattage than the lower resistance (90), and thus

half our P Value, we would still reject the null that they are equal; one half of the P value is still less

than .05.

Thus, we can conclude that not only do we have evidence to suggest that there is a statically

significant difference, but also that the mean difference is greater than zero. To apply this in context,

this data and conclusion is basically saying that a person or rower will be able to produce lower splits,

and more wattage or power, if the drag factor (resistance level) is set on a higher level (185) versus a

lower level (90). This means that rowers should definitely set their resistance at a higher one, but this

is not saying that 185 is the ideal resistance level for wattage production. Since not all high

resistances were evaluated, there is only evidence to suggest that a resistance of 185 is more effective

than 90, but not that, for example, 185 is more effective than 188 or 190. This is simply to say that the

results of this data exploration should not be used literally in the sense that every ergometer be set to

185, but rather the knowledge is now known that a higher resistance could possibly produce more

wattage than a low resistance, due to the evidence gathered and calculated. This ultimately means that

a rower who is about to complete a 2 kilometer or any other Ergometer test should increase the drag

factor, and therefore increase the resistance, and be able to produce more wattage and beat the

competition.

Data/Supplementary Evidence

R Code:

hist(final$differnce)

> hist(final$damper.nine)

> hist(final$damper.two)

> hist(final$differnce)

> data <- read.csv("~/Desktop/final.csv")

> View(data)

> final <- read.csv("~/Desktop/final.csv")

> View(final)

> t.test(final$difference)

One Sample t-test

data: final$difference

t = 4.6679, df = 9, p-value = 0.001172

alternative hypothesis: true mean is not equal to 0

95 percent confidence interval:

29.94354 86.25646

sample estimates:

mean of x

58.1

> mean(data$difference)

[1] 58.1

> sd(data$difference)

[1] 39.36002

> qqplot

function (x, y, plot.it = TRUE, xlab = deparse(substitute(x)),

{

sx <- sort(x)

sy <- sort(y)

lenx <- length(sx)

leny <- length(sy)

if (leny < lenx)

sx <- approx(1L:lenx, sx, n = leny)$y

if (leny > lenx)

sy <- approx(1L:leny, sy, n = lenx)$y

if (plot.it)

plot(sx, sy, xlab = xlab, ylab = ylab, ...)

invisible(list(x = sx, y = sy))

}

<bytecode: 0x1023fa988>

<environment: namespace:stats>

> head(final)

damper.nine damper.two difference

1

604

489

115

2

524

491

33

3

205

203

2

4

657

590

67

5

631

626

5

6

575

478

97

> qqnorm(data$diiference)

Error in qqnorm.default(data$diiference) : y is empty or has only NAs

In addition: Warning message:

In is.na(y) : is.na() applied to non-(list or vector) of type 'NULL'

> qqnorm(data)

Error in plot.default(...) :

formal argument "xlab" matched by multiple actual arguments

> View(data)

> View(data69)

> View(final)

> qqnorm(final$difference)

> qqline(final$difference, col=green)

10

Appendix

Figure 1:

website: www.mike-genovesi-stats-project.weebly.com

11

Appendix (Cont.)

Data Documentation:

12

Works Cited

Wyant, Chris. "C2 Drag Factor: A Guide to What You May Not Know. - CrossFit Discussion

Board." CrossFit Discussion Board RSS. Norwalk Rowing, 02 Sept. 2005. Web. 26 May 2015.

"Damper Setting 101." Damper Setting 101. Concept 2, n.d. Web. 26 May 2015.

*All of these sources are used for content and material, but not for quotations.*

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