Your Rowing Technique Mantra: Legs, Back, Arms – Arms, Back, Legs

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Indoor rowing gets a bad rap, and so does rowing technique.  Too often people make rowing sound much harder than it has to be, both in terms of the effort required to get good results and the technique needed to get there.

Yes, you can use the erg as your personal torture device (ask anyone who’s ever rowed 2000 meters for time) but the rowing machine is good for so much more than that.

Whether you want to row hard or just take it easy, the rowing machine is there for you.

It will meet you where you are in terms of your fitness, and then take you as far as you want to go.


Sometimes all you need to meet your goals is the right workout.  Our Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy workout programs are designed to help you meet your fitness targets, be they burning fat, building strength, gaining cardio base, or getting faster on the rowing machine.  While you’ve always been able to randomly grab one of our workouts, this is the first time the workouts have been put together as a fitness solution.


the relentless pursuit of perfect rowing technique


You may be concerned that your stroke isn’t “perfect.”  Congratulations, you’re a rower!  The pursuit of the perfect rowing stroke is as elusive and constant as that of the perfect golf swing.  You will hear rowers all the way from novices up to Olympians discussing the stroke’s finer points any time they get together.

But the basic rowing motion is pretty simple, especially when you learn it from someone who’s been trained to teach you.

Our Certified Indoor Rowing Instructors preach a mantra of “legs, back, arms – arms, back, legs” as a quick way to remember the flow of the rowing stroke and which body parts move when.

More specifically, from the catch you drive back with the legs, then begin to swing your back towards the rear of the machine, until your torso is roughly at an 11:00 position on a clock.  Then and only then (once you feel resistance on the chain) do you start to pull back with the arms.

On the recovery, you first release your arms out, then swing forward to 1:00 with your back, and begin to move your legs, only after the handle is past your knees.  There are some great drills that will let you practice this yourself, or with your rowing class, and we’ve got a video of rowing technique drills already set up for you:

Legs, back, arms — arms, back, legs.  If you can just stick with that you’ll be well on your way to erging like the pros — and having the physique to prove it.


NEED A rowing workout Plan?

It’s one thing to sit down on the machine and start pulling on the handle.  It’s another to have a plan that’s been put together by the experts. The Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy workout programs are designed to help you stay consistent with your workouts and give you a plan to follow, whether you row solo at home or the gym, or you teach rowing class.  Both plans are available for immediate download now, but only until Sunday, Nov. 12 at midnight EST.  After that they go away until next year.


Got questions about your rowing technique? We have a bunch of training tips you can check out, or post your question below and we’ll get a master instructor to answer it.  Want to find a certified rowing instructor in your area, check our list.  Want to become one yourself? Hop on over to our instructors page and find out how.



  1. Leonardo

    Hi I would like to do indoor rowing course

    1. UCanRow2 Post author

      Hi Leo,

      We would love to have you!! Please check our training calendar under the Instructors tab to see if there is a date and location that would work for you (Chicago in July, maybe?). We also may have a training in Florida later this year. Hope to see you soon!

  2. Meghan

    Great post, y’all! I was so, so lucky to have Aubrey and Charles help with technique but that video is excellent for those who aren’t lucky enough to be Atlanta dwellers 🙂

    Thanks for the post shoutout too!

    1. UCanRow2 Post author

      Hey thanks! Keep us posted if you do more rowing, we’d love to hear how it goes!

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