Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association

Lightweight Rowing




Lightweight declaration window - February 3, 2020 - March 9, 2020

Goals and Adjectives

  • Improve the safety of rowing by attempting to control the amount of weight loss over time, to limit weight cycling, and eliminate potentially dangerous methods of weight loss.
  • Improve the enjoyment of lightweight rowing by minimizing the time, effort, and discomfort associated with making weight, including excessive weight loss.
  • Educate coaches, rowers, and parents on healthier methods of weight loss and the potential for enhanced performance, endurance, and strength if the athlete rows at a more “ideal body weight”.
  • Educate coaches, rowers, and parents on basics of good nutrition for active sports participation in growing youngsters.
  • Maximize the chance for fair and equal participation of all rowers by standardizing methods for weight determination and by minimizing the health risks among rowers.
  • Create a more positive public image for the sport of rowing by attempting to eliminate one of the major criticisms leveled against the sport, (i. e. unhealthy weight loss).
  • Accomplish these goals without detracting from the discipline, mental and physical toughness, and conditioning that are very positive aspects of the sport.


  • The Crew Council Weight Control Program involves the determination of the MINIMUM weight (MW) at 7% body fat for males and 12% body fat for females.
  • It is ill advised and frequently harmful for high school rowers to reduce body fat content below that level.
  • Measurement of skin folds, baseline weight, and assessment of hydration are the ingredients utilized to determining the MW.
  • The program emphasizes that the MW and the resultant Minimum Weight are not necessarily the optimal or most desirable target. However, the athlete will not be permitted to row at a weight below that MINIMUM weight identified by this program.
  • The program also calculates a schedule for safe weight loss to allow a rower to gradually reach his desired and allowable weight while rowing down through lightweight guidelines during the season.


VHSL Certified Measurer's should download the Excel file (link to the left) and save the file to their computer. If your computer is a managed computer (belongs to a school or corporation), you may not be able to click on the links on this website. Successful downloads have been acheived with both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome by right-clicking (Windows Computer) on the link and selecting to copy the link. Open a new browser tab and paste the link into the address line.

Email for the password to unlock the male and female skinfold worksheets for data entry- PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR VHSL CERTIFIED MEASURER NUMBER IN YOUR EMAIL. The password will be provided to VHSL Certified Measurers only!