Manual control of 4ch FES rowing

Gibbons, R.; Sareh, S.; Poulton, A. and Andrews, B. J. (2011). Manual control of 4ch FES rowing. In: 16th IFESS Annual Conference, 2011: Electrical Stimulation and the Anthropological “Post-Human” Body, 8-11 Sep 2011, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


FES rowing is a new form of high-intensity, whole body, physical exercise for individuals with spinal cord injury. Preliminary results are presented for RG, co-author and trained paraplegic FES rower. RG has regularly used FES rowing since 2003 and has competed successfully in major international indoor rowing championships. The kinematic analysis reveals a faster stroke rate and shorter stroke length than normal. This is associated with the absence of sagittal trunk motion due to the method of trunk stabilization used in this simple configuration. The temporal pattern of the handle control switch indicates a well-honed motor skill in which the rower is continuously predicting the system dynamics and muscle responses. The control switching points occur with surprisingly high synchronization with the rowing cycle, typically within +/- 30ms. This suggests that the control of FES rowing, once learned, can be performed with minimal cortical load.
Switching for drive begins during recovery, thus the quadriceps are eccentrically active and highly loaded during the early drive phase. Handle forces exceeded 350N and may result in significant joint loading. For example, RG has had a 14.7% increase in BMD associated with FES rowing.

Viewing alternatives

Item Actions