Rowing Technique: Learn the Catch Position

“How can I get more out of my rowing?” Very often, it begins with getting set up properly at the catch. A strong catch = more power from the drive = more results from the workout.

 

In this guest post, Certified Instructor Alicia Clark shares tips for rowers and coaches on how to optimize this key part of the rowing stroke, and stay safe while doing it.

 

the Catch Position: A primer

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lot that goes into having a good catch position on the rowing machine. 

 

For coaches and instructors, it may make the difference between a powerhouse row and a ho-hum one.  Nail the catch and you’re set up for success on each and every stroke.

 

A good catch position looks like this:

 

image of a woman sitting in a strong catch position. Her shins are vertical, shoulders in front of hips, sitting on the front edge of the seat

 

 

Here are the big things to look for AT THE CATCH:

 

A good catch is all about getting the right setup, quickly, to allow for a powerful and fast drive.

 

1- Glutes on the edge of the seat

Sitting on the seat correctly sets you up well for a lot of the following points. We want our sit bones to be going directly down into the seat. 

 

One way to make sure that you’re sitting correctly on the seat is to pick up your butt cheeks (A favorite phrase of UCanRow2 Lead Master Instructor Cassi Niemann)!

 

Yep I said it! Pick those babies up so you can get your hips in a more neutral position and lean forward.

 

[Eds. note: A great cue for this from Alicia is, “Sit on the edge of your seat like you’re watching a suspenseful movie.”]

 

 

 

 

 

2- Shoulders in front of hips

Getting your shoulders in front of your hips sets you up for a better drive. After you push your legs down (on the drive) you’ll be able to swing your body open for more power.

 

The body swing accounts for 30% of the stroke power, and if you aren’t getting your shoulders in front of your hips to begin with, you’re missing out on all that!

 

 

3- Sit up tall

Many athletes make the mistake of “overreaching” at the catch: Reaching so far forward that their chest touches their knees as they go for extra length. When we reach too far, though, we lose tension in our shoulders.

 

So on the next stroke, the first thing that has to happen is the shoulders have to pull back to engage, rather than the first step being the push with the legs.

 

Long story short, reaching at the catch wastes time and makes you lose power. The extra length isn’t worth it!

 

 

4-Shins vertical

Stopping when the shins are vertical (or perpendicular to the ground) is the perfect balance between applying power quickly and lengthening your stroke. 

 

When we “overcompress” and allow our shins to go past vertical, it takes our heels much longer to come back into contact with the footplates on the drive.

 

We want to push through our heels on the drive, and when our heels come up too high, it’s easy to push through the balls of the feet instead. 

 

Not everyone has the flexibility to make it all the way up to their shins being vertical. If it’s a mobility or pain issue, then come up as close to vertical as you can. Let the rowing machine meet you where you are. 

 

NOTE: Stopping short of vertical cuts your stroke short. It’s OK for your heels to lift slightly at the catch in order to get those shins vertical. 

 

 

a person rowing in a concept2 rowing machine

 

 

5- Heels slightly lifted

This will vary for everyone, but most people will need to lift their heels just slightly at the catch to get their shins vertical. If your athlete has the flexibility to keep their heels down and still get their shins vertical, that’s awesome!

 

 

6-Arms straight

We want our arms to act like straps at the catch. If you follow Whiteboard Daily on Instagram, you may have heard “when the arms bend, the power ends” in regards to weightlifting.

 

The same is true in rowing!

 

Imagine you’re hanging off the erg handle when you begin to drive through your legs.

 

The best way to transfer that power is with straight arms! Bending them wastes precious energy that then can’t be put into getting a faster split. 

 

 

7- Lats activated

Before we start our drive, when we are at that catch position, we want to activate those lats and pull our shoulders back and down. Thinking about sitting up tall will help you get into this position. 

 

This creates tension in our upper body that allows us to hang off the handle. When looking at the upper back and shoulders, imagine creating a letter J.

 

It’s the same kind of tension in our upper body that we create before we deadlift, clean, or snatch with a barbell. In order to lift properly, we need those lats engaged before (and not during) the lift. 

 

Working on your catch position will help you with the rest of your stroke. After all, starting the stroke right is the first step!

 

Want help with your rowing stroke? Join our free Facebook group RowStrong

 

Want free workouts? Grab our GetFlywheelFit workout set

Notes For Coaches / Instructors:

As coaches, it’s important to look carefully at your athletes’ catch position. Most importantly, it will help you keep your athletes safe, but it will also help them generate more power!

 

Notice how your athletes look when they start to change direction on the erg, going from the recovery to the drive. This snapshot in time can help you identify parts of the catch they may need to work on. 

 

There are two areas, in particular, to look for.  Read on, or scroll down to check the video. 

 

1. Check that your athlete’s shins are coming to vertical

This is the easiest and most important thing to look for.

 

It’s pretty easy to see if a rower is overcompressing at the catch and their shins are going past vertical (see the photo below). This is important to check because knee pain can start to creep in if they are overcompressing.

 

 

image of a rower overcompressing, with the shins past perpendicular

Overcompression at the catch can strain the knees and reduce power on the drive

 

A cue that I’ve found helpful here is to tell them to start the drive as soon as they feel their heels lift up.

 

This typically prevents athletes from lifting too much, overcompressing, and then delaying the push down into the drive.

 

 

Try this hack to stop overcompression

 

A physical cue that helps stop rowers from coming up too far is to wrap a band around the monorail right where their shins come to vertical.

 

Let them know that when they hit the band they need to start their drive.  It will be rough at first, but over time your athletes will learn where the bad is, so the drive back will be more natural.

 

[Eds. note: Another way to do this is to use a piece of electrical tape on the top of the monorail. Put it in the same place as you would the band, just ahead of the front seat roller when your athlete is at shins vertical. Be sure to use only electrical tape and not duct tape, for example, which is hard to remove and leaves a sticky residue.]

 

2. Make sure the shoulders are in front of the knees

 

The next big thing to check is that your athlete’s shoulders are in front of their hips at the catch. If your rowers start their drive by leaning back first before they push with their legs, this can cause back pain over time. 

 

A tactile cue that works well here is to use your hand to press down on their shoulders when they start the drive. This resistance from your hand will teach them to be patient before they open their hips. 

 

Legs-only rowing would also help those athletes that lean back too soon. 

 

Help your athletes start every stroke the best and safest way possible! Let’s get rowing!

 

 

Want MORE COACHING TIPS? Check out this video, then subscribe to our YouTUbe channel!

 

 

 

 

Did you try these tips, either for yourself or with your students if you’re a fitness professional? Let us know in the comments how it went!

 

 

Want help with your rowing stroke? Join our free Facebook group RowStrong

 

Want free workouts? Grab our GetFlywheelFit workout set

 

For Further Reading:

 

 

Play This Game for Better Rowing Technique

An image of the dart game on the Concept2 monitor

 

Rowing used to be a well-kept secret. Those of us who knew that the rowing machine is the perfect solution for total-body, non-impact fitness for people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels were few and far between.

 

Not any more!

 

Rowing has been called the new spinning, and you now see rowing gyms popping up all over, home machines are backordered and there are tons of options for doing workouts online.

 

Our free RowStrong group on Facebook has also grown by leaps and bounds!

 

For a long time, new rowers often do great just getting on the machine and starting to row.

 

Eventually though, the question inevitably comes:

 

AM I doing this right?

 

It’s actually a great question to ask, because nailing your technique out of the gate will go a long way towards making rowing easier, more fun and more effective all at the same time.

 

There are tons of drills and mantras that you can use yourself, or with your students or clients,  that will help them dial in their rowing.

 

But sometimes it’s fun to make a game out of it, amiright?

 

TRY THE GAME THAT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER ROWER

 

Most people start out with rowing the same way: They get on the machine and off they go. That alone is often enough to sustain them for a while.

 

Eventually, though, if they row on a Concept2 rowing machine, they discover the games on the monitor (Ahem. You did know there are games on there, right?).

 

The one everyone gets stuck on is the fish game.

 

Super fun, you get to swim through the ocean, going faster and slower to swim up and down and catch all the yummy small fry, while trying to avoid becoming the big fishes’ dinner yourself.

 

The game is intended to teach rowers to control their intensity.

 

Problem is, in our experience, most rowers aren’t skilled enough at making those quick adjustments so they end up reinforcing bad technique habits instead.

 

If you watch people play the game, you’ll often see them making some pretty erratic moves to stay alive. The exact opposite of the consistent, fluid strokes we want to see on the machine.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good game of fish occasionally, and it can be a great motivator to help you get on the machine.
But we like it better as a reward after a workout.

 

What to do then?

 

There actually IS a game – also super fun – that will help you practice your technique.

 

RAMP UP YOUR ROWING TECHNIQUE WITH THE DARTS GAME

 

This one is all about tempo and consistency. You get five strokes to start and set your pace, then 300 to try to hold what you were doing.
The closer you are to the target stroke rate and split you set on the warmup, the more points you’ll get.

 

Go faster than your pace strokes and you’ll have a flat line above the target. Go slower and your line will run underneath. No points. 🙁

 

As long as you put a little bit of oomph into it, the game makes for a great workout warmup, or it would also be a fun cooldown.

 

Side note for fitness professionals and studio owners: This is a fun group warmup too!

 

TRY THE DARTS GAME!

 

Here’s how to set it up on either a Concept2 PM4 or PM5 monitor:

PM5: From the Main Menu select More Options > Games > Darts

PM4: From the Main Menu, select Games > Darts

 

The total possible score is 15,000 points. We’ve seen it done!!

 

Give it a go and report back in the comments!

 

 

Go Deeper!

 

3 Tips for Better Rowing Technique

 

There’s nothing we love more than getting a juicy question in our social media DMs or blog comments. Like this one:

 

“I’ve been rowing for a while and I know I’ve developed some bad habits that I need to shake. Help!”

 

Does that one resonate with you?

 

If it does and you’re feeling a little “meh” about your rowing stroke, know that you’re in good company!

 

We all feel this way sometimes, or even a lot of the time.

 

Congratulations, you’re a rower!

 

Just like in golf, get a bunch of rowers around a table and, most likely even before the first pint of beer is empty, the conversation will make its way to technique.

 

From novice to Olympian, it’s “I’m not getting my hands away fast enough at the finish,” “I want to connect better at the catch,” etc. etc. [Actual statements heard from the mouths of super-seasoned veterans.]

 

3 EPIC TIPS TO HELP YOU ROW LIKE A BOSS

 

That’s awesome, you may be saying, but what do I actually DO??

 

To answer the question of how to fix a broken rowing stroke we called in an expert: UCanRow2 / Concept2 Master Instructor Cassi Niemann, a 20-year rowing and coaching veteran, trainer of rowing instructors and creator of our RowReady course.

 

Whether it’s your stroke you’re working on or your students’, the right approach is to go back to the basics.

 

Read More

Your St. Patrick’s Day Playlist Is Here!

Get your St. Patrick's Day row on! Irish pub songs and modern melodies combine in TWO great rowing playlists. #rowing #stpatricksday #fitness #workout #playlist

 

St. Patrick’s Day playlist anyone? How about two? Because the only thing better that one St. Patrick’s Day playlist is two!

 

We couldn’t decide which workout and playlist we wanted to do more in advance of the corned beef and cabbage. So we decided not to decide! Instead, we made one grouping that’s a standard playlist and another to fuel your best interval workout.

 

Both lists combine classic Irish pub songs and more popular music by Irish artists. Leprechaun-approved, and we hope you’ll like them too! If you have suggestions for songs we should add, post them in the comments and we’ll give them a listen.

 

ABOUT THE PLAYLISTS’ TEMPO

 

In general, we’ve tried to respect the guidance to keep the beats per minute around 100-120 for rowing, with some latitude to bump it up when the band really gets going. Mostly though, we think you’ll find that music that’s too fast will result in bad rowing and fewer meters than you might expect.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Row Playlist

 

The main list, St. Patrick’s Day Row, is set up so you can “press play” and get a few minutes of warmup before getting into a generally higher-tempo workout for about an hour.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Intervals Playlist

We also created a separate playlist, St. Patrick’s Day Intervals, that allows you to do about a half hour of intervals of 3 minutes of work with equal amounts of paddle rest (no-pressure rowing). If you want a workout where you can just hit “play” and go (starting with a bit of warmup), that would be the one.

 

 

Try both and let us know what you think!

 

Want some killer workouts to go with your new St. Patrick’s Day playlist? Download our free #GetFlywheelFit workout set. 11 workouts to keep you sweating, and guaranteed to bring you luck! ERIN GO ROW!

 

Interval Workout: Balls to the Wall

If you have 15 minutes you have time to work out. Do this interval workout with the rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg, or all three. Want more workouts like this? Get our free workout set #GetFlywheelFit: http://bit.ly/GetFlywheelFit #crossfit #rowing #workout #skierg #workout #fitness #rowingmachine #rowingworkout #ucanrow2

 

If you have 15 minutes (plus a few more to warm up), you have time to work out! This interval workout will do the trick.

 

The key to killing it on a workout like this is going hard from the get-go. That’s why you want to take at least a few minutes to warm up and get a sweat rolling first.

 

Once the workout starts, it’s on! Take breaks as needed but you’re aiming to get breathless. “Work until you can’t, rest until you can,” is your guiding phrase.

 

You can use the rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg, or a combination of the three. Just make sure you’re breathing hard on those pieces, as well as on the off-erg exercises. 

 

If you’re rowing on a Concept2 machine, use the Undefined Rest feature to make working through the rounds a breeze. 

 

GET AFTER IT!!

 

Terms you might need to know:

 

AMRAP: As Many Rounds As Possible in the time of the workout

Lunges/squats: The squats are an option for “scaling,” or making the workout a bit easier (or simply giving an option for a different move if, for example, lunges don’t work for you).

OH press: Overhead press. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell. Aim to push the weight above your head, until your arms are straight and even with your ears. 

 

Want more workouts like this? Get our free workout set #GetFlywheelFit: 

 

SEND ME THE WORKOUTS!  

 

Questions? let us know in the comments. If you try the workout we’d LOVE to hear your feedback, too! 

 

Concept2 Rower Workout: Triple Trouble

This Concept2 rower workout will keep your muscles guessing. Burn fat and build strength by using all the cardio erg options plus strength moves, or just use the rower. Either way is good!

 

Equipment needed: Concept2 rower, SkiErg, BikeErg.  Dumbbells; kettlebells; TRX, rings or a pull-up bar

 

This is a killer workout especially if you have the Concept2 rower, SkiErg and BikeErg.  No problem though if you don’t have all three, just use whatever you have it’ll still be a great sweat.  If you have access to a TRX strap you can use that in place of the ring rows and do a TRX row instead, which is a great option to scale the move to any ability level.

 

To be clear, in between the 3-minute cardio intervals, you’ll do descending amounts of reps on each round.  So it’s 10 reps of everything on the first round, then 8 on the second, and 6 on the third.

 

The fact that you’re dropping down in volume means you might be able to up your effort on the Concept2 rower or other cardio. Or try increasing the weight on at least a few of the reps as you go through the workout.  We usually have a couple of options of weights of kettlebells for the goblet squats, for example.  As soon as we fail at one weight, we immediately set it down and pick up the lighter weight to keep going.

 

With only 3-minute rounds on the Concept2 rower, you should be able to push hard (whatever that looks like for you).  You want to be at a point where you could give one- or two-word answers to a question, but you’d rather not.  A racing start will help you get the flywheel moving quickly so you can make the most of your interval.

 

Want more interval workouts like this? We have lots you can grab for free in our Workouts section.  Or, if you’re ready to level up to a done-for-you training program, check out #MeterMonster and #FlywheelFrenzy, our 4-week rowing workout programs.

 

Try this and let us know how it goes in the comments.  We can’t wait to hear!

 

Tricks to Dominate Endurance Rowing Workouts

Updated April 14, 2018

Endurance rowing workout

 

 

Not gonna lie, when people walked into the Bodyshop and saw a version of the workout above, their faces dropped.  500m – 750m – 1000m – 2000m and back down the pyramid.  Seven total rounds and close to 10,000 meters when all is said and done.

 

Endurance rowing.  Character builder.  “Ugh,” (said some).

 

When you’re used to rowing intervals of 500m or just a couple of minutes that’s A LOT of work.  Some of us would rather stick hot needles in our eyes than row or SkiErg that much!

 

Endurance rowing workouts are both a physical AND mental challenge, they take a longer time to do and they can be suuuuper boring.  That’s IF you don’t have the tricks we’re about to give you.

whAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT ENDURANCE ROWING?

 

WE GET IT,  but there are a lot of good reasons to press on and do a workout like this.  Among them:

 

  • Endurance building: Monster-meter workouts like these help build cardio endurance that gives you a good base to work from, even when you’re more focused on shorter, high-intensity workouts.
  • Weight loss: When weight loss is your goal, some longer rowing workouts are in order (once you’ve built up enough cardio base to push yourself for lengthier intervals)
  • Cross training: Steady-state or interval rowing is great if you’re cross-training for another sport or working on your general fitness.
  • One-stop workout shopping: Rowing-only workouts are one-stop-shopping.  They work virtually every muscle on every stroke, without the need for any other equipment.
  • Meter munching: It’s the best way to grab lots of meters in a rowing competition like the Concept2 challenges.
  • Mental toughness: Having the ability to guts it out on a difficult workout (long OR short) builds mental muscle we can use when the going gets rough elsewhere.  There’s nothing like being able to tell yourself, “If I can get through 10K (or 2K) I can get through this, too.”

 

For some people, simply rowing the distances would be challenge enough.  Visit our RowStrong group on Facebook and you’ll find people who relish rowing 10K daily just for fun.

 

For the rest of us though, some additional distraction is in order.  Read on…

 

hacks to bring the magic to a long rowing workout

 

Endurance rowing workouts are as much a mental challenge as they are physical.  The key to making this kind of workout not just doable – but dare we say it, FUN – is to break up the meter pieces and do each one differently.  It’s also a great time to work your technique.  Be creative!

 

Here’s how we did this one at the Bodyshop.  As you’ll see, it was actually eight intervals, so if you do the workout in the photo you get a bit of a break.  Ha!

 

Monster Meter Pyramid Workout – Bodyshop Version

Start rowing, or set your monitor for the intervals below (intervals>variable on a Concept2 monitor), with 1:30 paddle rest in between each.  Keep your strokes per minute between 22 and 28.

Vary your effort throughout – as suggested below – but challenge yourself to stay within your split or pace goal for each distance.  For example, your 500m split should be faster than your 2000m split since the 500 is shorter and you can be more intense.

 

500m – Do a Pick Drill warmup if you’re rowing, or a straight warmup if you’re skiing the workout

1000mTechnique focus: Begin to build power and find your 70-80 percent effort level.  Focus on key technique elements like hip swing, cycling the hands quickly through the finish, keeping the handle straight through the stroke, etc.

1500m – Split focus: Divide the piece into three 500m sections and aim to lower your split every 500m piece

2000m – Interval focus: Row 30 seconds on at 26-28 spm, 30 seconds off at 20-22 spm

1500m – Stroke rate focus: Divide the piece into 3 500m sections (or six 250m sections) and increase your stroke rating every time

1000m – Interval focus: Rolling 100s.  100 meters hard, 100 meters easy

500m –   Finish with a target of your first 1000m split, or cool down

 

post-row recovery

 

Recovery is critical after a workout like this, particularly if higher-volume workouts aren’t a regular thing for you.

 

If you’re not already, develop and follow a good post-workout routine.  That way you’ll be sure to repair cells and tissues that were damaged during the workout, replace nutrients and remove wastes.

 

MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE:

 

  • HYDRATION – Drink water throughout the workout, but also be sure to replenish depleted stores afterwards

 

  • STRETCHING – We will often do a 10-15 minute round of yoga after a workout like this.  It helps us calm down, drop cortisol levels and generally hit the rest of the day refreshed and ready to go.  We love the Down Dog app for this.  It makes yoga easy, even for us non-yogis.  Failing that, it’s a must to do some general stretches that target the areas most taxed in rowing.

 

  • POST-WORKOUT SNACK – A well-balanced snack or a meal within 1-2 hours of a workout like this will help you recover, refuel and build muscle.  Unless you’re working out for more than 2 hours or have very specific nutrition needs, you don’t need special supplements

 

  • REST – Adequate recovery is essential to avoid overtraining.  That includes both leaving enough time between workouts and getting sufficient sleep (7-9 hours per night is best).

 

 

Do you have favorite endurance workouts?  Share them in the comments … please!  We all need a good workout.  Row on!!

 

Further information:

 

3 Rowing Machine Workouts to Get You Back on Track

If you've fallen off the pace with your rowing machine workouts lately, here are three new workouts to get you back in the swing.

 

Updated Aug. 30, 2019

 

We’ve all been there…

 

You’re going along fine with your rowing machine workouts.  Showing up for them according to your plan, feeling like you could conquer the world when you’re done.  Nothing’s going to stop you now!

 

And then life gets in the way.

 

You get sick, you go on vacation, you get an injury that requires you to lay off for a while. One day you wake up and you realize, “I’ve gotten way off track.”  Days or weeks have gone by without a real workout happening.

 

Now what?

 

First off, stop and take a deep breath.  Getting off track with your workouts is totally normal.  It doesn’t make you bad, wrong, or any kind of a failure.  It makes you human.

 

 

 

HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK  

 

As soon as you realize you’ve fallen off your plan, don’t stew over it, and certainly don’t beat yourself up.  It happens to everyone at some point, and it’s completely fine.

 

The worst thing you can do is decide, “I’ll never be able to stay consistent with my rowing machine workouts no matter what I do.”  Then give yourself permission to skip the gym and turn your home rowing machine into a clothes hanger.

 

Instead, give yourself a clean slate and make a plan for how you’re going to get back on track.  Like TODAY.

 

How to get back into working out

 

Ease Into It:

 

If it’s been a while, make sure you ease into it. Just because you USED to work out for 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week doesn’t mean you can or should after a long layoff (or at all). Set yourself up to be successful: Aim to move 2-3 days a week for a few weeks, then build from there.

 

Do it until it’s so easy it’s automatic. Then move on.

 

Add the element of accountability:

 

Then, once you have your plan in place, tell someone about it.  A real, live person you know is spectacular, but failing that Facebook or another social media platform is an excellent alternative.

 

Just be sure you declare it “out loud,” and ask people to check in with you from time to time. Accountability is key, and it’s harder to hide when you announce your intentions to the world!

 

Be patient! 

 

You didn’t get out of shape or put on 10 lbs. in a week, you’re not going to reverse those quickly, either. All the more reason to make changes slowly and sustainably so that the effort doesn’t suck the life out of you.

 

The older we get, the longer it takes to see progress in fitness and nutrition. You might as well make it a ride you can enjoy.

 

 

 

3 rowing Machine workouts to jump-start your restart

 

One of the great things about the rowing machine is it meets you where you are, regardless of your current fitness level.

 

Since the rowing machine is an ergometer, you are always in control of how hard it is to row.  The harder you push-pull, the harder it will be to do so, and vice versa.

 

A little variety doesn’t hurt to keep you consistent either.

 

So to start you back on the right track, here are three rowing workouts, all different styles.  They showcase the three formats we typically use in our UCanRow2 Bodyshop classes: Erg (aka rowing machine, SkiErg or BikeErg) only, erg with bodyweight, and erg with equipment.

 

They’re all great and will give you a fantastic sweat.  You decide which one works best for you!

 

NOTE: Warm up well before each workout, keeping in mind the axiom: “The shorter the workout, the longer the warmup.”

 

 

 

ERG-ONLY ROWING INTERVALS

Row intervals of 1-2-3-3-2-1 mins. (total 6 rounds), with the same amount of rest on each round.  Total time for the workout (without warmup or cooldown) is 24 minutes.

 

Start each round with a few short strokes to get going and build to your rating.  Each piece (interval) should be done at 80 percent of your max, where you’re rowing at a pace at which you can talk but you’d rather not.

 

Aim for a stroke rating between 24 and 28 strokes per minute.  Use how you feel to determine what stroke rating to hold.

 

Your goal is to maintain the same split within about 5 seconds on each round.  If you find you can’t talk, you’re going too hard!

 

Make it easier: Back off on the intensity, or lower your stroke rating
Make it harder: Work to take 5-10 seconds off your split on each round

ERG + BODYWEIGHT

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) 20 mins of:

Row 500m
10 lunges
10 push-ups
10 burpees / step-ups
8 thrusters / squats
25 jumping jacks
3 broad jumps

 

Make it easier: Lower intensity on the row / reduce the number of off-erg moves or do the scaled options – the second choice when there are two listed
Make it harder: Increase intensity on the erg, up the workout time by 5-10 mins.

 

ERG + EQUIPMENT

4 rounds, descending pyramid:

Row 1 minute
In between do 12-9-7-5 repetitions of:
Push-ups
TRX or weighted squats / air squats
Push press
Sit-ups
KB swings

 

Make it easier: Eliminate the exercises on the last round, instead ending with the 4th row as a sprint
Make it harder: Add a round of 15 repetitions at the beginning

 

Give them a try, and we would truly be thrilled and honored if you would comment below and let us know how you liked them, and if anything especially worked or didn’t work.

 

If you want more rowing machine workouts like this be sure to join our email list; We send out new workouts every week, along with other great content you won’t see anywhere else.

 

One quick caution, because Safety First and Do No Harm are our guiding principles: The workouts we post here are intended for people with at least some rowing experience.

 

If you’re new to the rowing machine, we recommend you find a certified indoor rowing instructor to help with the basics and sign up for our RowReady course for beginners.

 

Also subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out our blog post on rowing technique for videos and articles that will help you refresh and review.

 

Ready for more? Check out our rowing workout programs Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy.

 

Need a little extra accountability? Share your plan in the comments and seal the deal!

 

 

What do you do when you fall off your indoor rowing training horse? Don't despair, or feel bad! Instead, get re-started right away with these three rowing machine workouts. Want more like this? Visit our workouts page: https://ucanrow2.com/indoor-rowing-workouts/

 

Rowing Technique: Perfecting the Stroke

Updated June 21, 2019


 

What rowing technique question do we get most often?  Right up there towards the top at least, it’s gotta be: “Can you just show me what a good rowing stroke looks like?”

 

 You asked for it, we’re happy to provide.  Regardless of your effort level, your stroke should always look smooth.  Legs first, then body, then arms on the drive; Arms, body, legs on the recovery.  That’s your rowing mantra, stroke after stroke after stroke.

 

Watch UCanRow2 founder Terry Smythe, one of the best in the business, as she rows below.  She was a veteran of the US national rowing team and spent 30+ years teaching indoor rowing so she knew her stuff.  Spend 30 seconds watching the rowers at your local gym and you’re likely to see anything BUT this.  Just because people are doing it doesn’t make it right!

 

via GIPHY

 

keys to perfecting your rowing technique

 

Some things to notice in Terry’s rowing stroke: Get the perfect, powerful rowing stroke with these handy tips #rowing #rowingtechnique #indoorrowing #crossfit

  • The torso swings from an 11-o’clock angle at the finish to 1 o’clock at the catch – no more, no less
  • Knees stay down on the recovery until the handle has passed them
  • The hands never stop moving, BUT (see below)
  • There is a slight pause of her torso at the finish while her hands start moving away from her body, back towards the flywheel
  • The handle moves pretty much straight back and forth, in just a slight ellipsis (think of your fingertips running across the top of the table on the drive, and your knuckles scraping the bottom of the table on the recovery)
  • The shins come to vertical at the catch – no more, no less
  • There is a 1 X 2 ratio between the drive and recovery (Say “Woof!” on the drive, “Meow!” on the recovery)
  • Toes maintain contact with the foot stretcher throughout the stroke
  • The damper is set at 3 (Not 10!)

 

HOW TO get better at indoor rowing

 

If your rowing technique doesn’t look like this don’t worry!  Rowing is a lot like golf, the relentless pursuit of the perfect stroke.  Everybody’s always working to improve some element of it or another.  And we do mean EVERYBODY.  It’s just part of the deal.  

 

Walk into the dining hall at Craftsbury Sculling Center (our favorite place to learn sculling).  You’ll hear everyone from newbie rowers on up to Olympic medalists chatting about the finer points of their strokes and how they’d like to improve them (“I’m not getting my hands away fast enough,” “I’m not pivoting enough at the hips.”)

 

So, if you’re stroke’s not where you want it, you’re in good company.  Start where you are, and keep working at it.  Get some help from a certified rowing instructor if you have one in your area.  If not, contact us, we can help you over email or Skype.

 

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your stroke to Terry’s or anybody else’s.  We don’t start off knowing how to row, nor do we usually learn how to row at a young age the way we learn to ride a bike.  Good rowing technique comes in time though, and the results are well worth the effort!

 

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Got a question about this?  Or just want to rant about the crazy technique you’re seeing at the gym (Handle pulled up over the head anybody?)?  We hear ya!  Rant away below in the comments.

Workout 5-4-2016

 

Try this row/ski/mix alternating workout

This workout is designed to be done alternating between the rowing machine and the SkiErg.  If you don’t have access to a SkiErg you can row the whole workout. Or, if you want a bigger challenge, make it an all Ski Erg workout.  If you do that aim for the lower number of rounds.