How to Better Your Rowing Plus the Mistakes You’re Making

by | Sep 25, 2023 | Fitness

Rowing is primarily a strength-endurance type of sport. Rowing technique requires a large amount of skill and finesse to keep the boat going forward at a gold medal-winning speed. You need to build huge lungs and powerful legs to make the boat fly. That’s why we’ve put together the best advice to better your rowing.

“Physiologically, it’s brutal,” says Jimmy Clark, an exercise physiologist with the Institute for Sport Research at the University of Pretoria.

“We’re talking about near maximal sustained ventilation – heart rate and oxygen uptake to support the high power outputs over the six-odd minutes it takes to row 2,000 m while attempting to maintain the most effective and efficient technical form at stroke rates of 30 to 40 per minute,” he says.

According to Clark their training is focused on leg strength, VO₂ max improvement as well as technique. “Around 80 percent of the power is generated from the coordinated work of knees, hips and lower back,” he says.

READ MORE: 9 Rowing Workouts That Will Incinerate Fat

Avoid the following faults in technique to ensure optimal performance. Best of all, you don’t need to be on the water, this also works with indoor rowers.

1. Rowing With Bent Arms

The Fault: The rower starts the drive by pulling with the arms, rather than pushing with the legs.

The Correction:  The drive starts by pushing the legs and bracing the back with the arms fully extended and relaxed.

2. Pulling Up Too Far And Leaning Back Too Much

The Fault: At the finish of the stroke, the rower pulls the handle up too high and leans back too far.

The Correction: To better your rowing, draw the handle into the body. The wrists should be flat and the elbows drawn past the body, with his forearms as horizontal as possible.

3. Getting Bored With Your Session

The Fault: The problem isn’t rowing – it’s that you’re not out rowing a boat. On the water, these movements would be stimulating, but in the gym, they’re stultifying. To build a V-shaped and better your rowing torso without losing your mind, do intervals, advises Topher Bordeau, head heavyweight varsity rowing coach. “They spice things up and test your limits,” he says. Give this sweat-inducing interval session a try.

READ MORE: Transform Your Workout Routine with Matthew Stone’s Functional Training

The Correction: Set the timer for 30 minutes. Warm up for five minutes, and then row as hard as you can for one minute. Go slowly for another minute. Now repeat – fast, then slow, for a minute each – until you hit the 25-minute mark. “Use the final five minutes to cool down or sob – your call,” says Bordeau.

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