We describe the scientific basis for evaluating the biomechanics and associated physiological requirements of exercise performance in elite national rowers. Computer-assisted analysis of high-speed cinematography has demonstrated that efficiency in rowing is related to the relative proximity between peak force and the perpendicular position of the oar. Physiological testing has indicated that near maximal levels of oxygen consumption are required during "all out" rowing, involving both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. Serial testing has been performed on elite oarsmen throughout the year in order to evaluate the individual benefits of a training program and to establish guidelines for future training. Successful application of the scientific analysis of rowing performance requires that the athlete, coach, and investigator work closely together in an effort to increase the average velocity of the boat.