Finish, please!

Today’s post comes courtesy of Certified Rowing Instructor Leeny Hoffman.  You can find her at CrossFit St. Louis, teaching rowing class M, W, F at 8:30 a.m., and blogging regularly about nutrition and rowing on the CrossFit St. Louis blog.  For more technique tips be sure to follow the UCanRow2 video channel and our Trainer Tips page. 

 

 

I was checking out different Crossfit blogs the other day and came across this picture of a rower (not from our gym) getting after it.  I have no doubt that this chick was giving it her all and I’m sure she was killing this row.  But her finish was killing me so I thought I would address it here.  One of my goals as a rowing instructor is to teach proper technique so people are safe and efficient on the erg.  Unfortunately, no one told this gal that she didn’t need to pull the covers up so high.  Her excessive layback at the finish did not increase her stroke power and only added extra, unnecessary movement.  And we all know that rowing is tiring enough without adding more work that doesn’t pay off in meters.

At the finish of the stroke, position your back angle at about 20 degrees, or in the 11:00 position on a clock.  Handle comes to your sternum in a straight line from where it came out of the flywheel.  For you ladies, that is about the bottom of your sports bra.  Guys, we’re talking just at or below your pecs.  Arms are comfortably down at your sides and slightly out, but not chicken winged.  Toes should be pressed firmly into the footplate at the finish, not straining against the footstraps.

To fix excessive layback at the finish, practice rowing unstrapped.  Check out this article from
ergrowing.com:   http://www.ergrowing.com/strapless-erging-will-fix-excessive-layback/.

Below are some proper finish positions from people in the CrossFit St. Louis rowing class.

 

 

"rowing technique"

Jim finishes strong

 

"good rowing technique" "good rowing finish" "Leeny Hoffman"

Leeny Hoffman showing how it's done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your biggest technique pet peeve?  Post it to the comments!

Biggest Loser Rowing Offer: Home Users, Buy an Erg, Get Trained Free

Logo of The Biggest Loser After a long hiatus the Concept2 rower is back on The Biggest Loser for the current U.S. season.  And this season you’ll be seeing the SkiErg as well. Great news!  For the most part…

If you saw the first episode you saw some rowing (not on Concept 2 machines), but unfortunately virtually none of it with good technique or cuing from the trainers.  And viewers noticed.  Twitter users, for example,  had a lot to say about it: “It kills me watching people erg on The Biggest Loser,” wrote @kdbug313.  “Like that’s not how you do it.” “I truly cannot watch people on the biggest loser erg because they all have the worst form and do it wrong,” said @laurenndriscoll.

It’s a shame that the Biggest Loser contestants don’t get a better chance at learning and using proper technique.  Properly done, there’s no better machine for fitness and weight loss than the Concept2 rowing machine. But it’s like everything else, you have to do it right to get the best results.

So to support Biggest Loser viewers across the United States and Canada,  and as part of our mission to Stamp Out Bad Rowing we’ve created a new deal: Buy your Concept2 erg or SkiErg from us and we’ll give you a free Skype training session with a master instructor to get you set up and rowing/skiing right.

Here’s what to do to get the deal: Contact us, either by email (info@ucanrow2.com), or phone (906-482-8748) during business hours, mention that you want the Biggest Loser deal and let us know if you’d like to buy a rowing machine or a SkiErg (or both!).

Money saved on a UCanRow2 remote training session: $65.  Weight loss and fitness results from learning to erg correctly: Priceless.

Questions?  Post ’em to the comments.  Row on!!!

 

 

Fitness Marketing: Flickr’s Revamped iPhone App: New Home for Your Best Erging Pics?

Flickr's new iPhone app competes with Instagram

The New York Times says the new version of Flickr’s iPhone photo app may well be a force to be reckoned with, and stiff competition for Instagram.  Flickr has long been THE place to post photos for Web optimization, but in recent months has lost some ground to hipsterish (for now) Instagram.

Where the Times says Flickr is aiming, though, and where it may well win in the end, is to be THE place to look at high-resolution photos.  If you’re looking to promote your fitness business online you should have a Flickr account anyway as it’s an important place to get your photos seen and to drive traffic to your website, Facebook page, or wherever you’ve set up your online home (I still think it should be a website, but that’s a post for another day.).

Just like Instagram, serious photographers might not want to use Flickr’s iPhone app to display their best work (check out SmugMug’s Camera Awesome as one option for that) but this is more about Web optimization than art.  And since both indoor and on-water rowing are such photogenic sports, those of us who love capturing them with a camera would do well to check Flickr’s new offering out.

Do you use any of these?  What do you think? We’d love to see your favorite rowing and erging pics, too.  Post a link here!

Rowing Machine Maintenance Tip: Tighten the Screws


The Concept2 rowing machine is one of the most durable and some of the best exercise equipment there is.  With just a little bit of regular maintenance your machine should last a lifetime.  That said, that regular Concept 2 rower maintenance is critical, both for optimal performance and for safety.

The Concept2 rower's front screws need to be tight to help stabilize the machine

One of the most important things to check on a regular basis is the eight screws at the front of the machine — four on the legs and four under the flywheel (see photos).  If they become loose you may start hearing a clunking noise or your flywheel may shake when you row.  This is especially true if your rowing machines are being used in any sort of high-intensity setting, such as a CrossFit box or a competitive indoor rowing environment.

Look under the flywheel for the four screws that need to be tightened to hold the flywheel solidly

It’s an easy fix, just grab the allen wrench that came with your machine, tighten the screws, and voila, smooth water ahead yet again!

What erg maintenance questions do you have?  Post them to the comments and we’ll answer them!

 

TRAINER TIP: Close Your Eyes for the Cooldown

Here’s a tip to help your rowing students get better flow in their rowing stroke: The cooldown of a workout is a great time to focus in on the zen of rowing. Use that time to close your eyes and feel the motion.

Remind your students to FEEL the connection of the stroke, from the drive to the finish to the recovery.  Hands away, body over, slowing the slide.  Allow your body to feel the fatigue but also the discipline of good technique, even when you’re tired.

Indoor Rowing in the News: Rowing a Low-Impact Workout with High Results

We travel all over the United States doing indoor rowing training and generally turning people on to the sport. One of the coolest places we’ve ever been is Fitness Pointe in Munster, IN, where we had the good fortune to visit the day that member Judy Abbott hit 2 million meters rowed during last year’s month-long Concept2 World Erg Challenge (WOW!!!).

The NWI Times has just profiled the group, which had 254 members in this year’s rowing challenge, in which they marked their third challenge win.  This group totally gets the benefits of rowing, both the physical and the emotional, community-building: The story quotes Fitness Pointe fitness supervisor Nikki Sarkisian on the benefits of rowing: “Rowing is a great cardiovascular workout,” she says. “However, it can also be a muscular endurance workout for those individuals that row 100,000 meters or more during one workout.”

Read the full story here.

The Ultimate Erging Playlist

Indoor rowing classMusic for rowing classes or a great rowing playlist is always a big topic of discussion around the UCanRow2 office and Concept2 instructor trainings.  We usually tell people to aim for workout music with little to no lyrics and relatively slow beats per minute, usually in the 120 bpm range or slower.  Indoor cycling music is often ideal for workout playlists, as long as it allows you or your students time to really focus on their rowing technique and not get so lost in the tunes that proper rowing form goes out the window.

All of that being said, sometimes you have a really long steady state workout in front of you, or you need a musical pick-me-up to shake off the day, or you just want to get your groove on.  For all of that, enter Rowing Journal, which has published a list of 90 minutes of erging tunes they love.  Beyond just giving you the list of songs, their Ultimate Erging Playlist goes into some detail explaining which songs you might put at which point in a workout, be it a 2k test or a steady state 10k.

Rowing workout playlists are, of course, a very personal thing but we love the thinking behind this piece … plus it made us laugh!  For example:

“First and Foremost: If it reminds anyone of the dance routines young Spice Girl wannabes made up at primary school then it is not
acceptable erg music. Ever.

“High ratings must always be accompanied by up tempo, heavy rhythm music, ideally Classic/ Hard Rock or Wagnerian Opera. There is
a feeling of invincibility as you complete your 2K PB to the inspiring sounds of Ride of the Valkyries!

“Rap has all the musicality of a ringing telephone and is easily dismissed from this discussion. In fact, the only R&B allowed is R Kelly’s
World’s Greatest.”

Check out the whole article, it’s great reading! For those of you who can’t wait to reorganize your iPods though, here’s the Rowing Journal list (Personally, we’d rather stick hot needles in our eyes than row to Livin’ on a Prayer yet again, but there’s something here for pretty much everybody):

Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Come Follow Me – The Answer
Party Hard – Andrew WK
Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
Layla – Derek and the Dominoes (Good Rhythm setter)
Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
Fans – Kings of Leon
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Smooth – Santana
Under Pressure – Queen
Baba O’Riley – The Who
Where The Street Have No Name – U2
Sunshine On Your Love – Cream
Peaceful, Easy Feeling – The Eagles
All Right Now – Free
Man’s World – James Brown
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Mars – Holst Planet Suite
Jupiter – Holst Planet Suite
Ride of the Valkyries – Wagner

What’s on your playlist for this weekend?  Tell us in the comments and we’ll try it in class next week!

Infographic: Down and Dirty Guide to Social Media

Admit it.  You could be spending more time promoting yourself and your business with social media.  We all could.  But there’s a lot of water there to be rowed with only so many hours in the day.  As we often tell people in our Programming Intensive course, some involvement in social media — well executed — is better than no involvement in social media.

The business consultant network Zintro has looked at the research and pulled together this social networking infographic to help you decide when to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and what information to share on each.

 

In a nutshell:

  • Facebook is best for more personal interactions with your contacts
  • Twitter is a good resource for quick updates in real time, monitoring the chatter about your brand and industry/sport, and finding potential members/client
  • LinkedIn is where you want to be to showcase your professional side and highlight your accomplishments (more your awards than your PRs)
  • Google+ is a good place to start or have more in-depth conversations than you can on Twitter and with people you’re not yet connected to, as is required on Facebook.

Of course you can get a lot more involved than this in social media marketing for your fitness business, but this will help you hit the highlights.

Where are you marketing your fitness business online?  Share your links here!

Your Blueprint for Fitness Social Media Success … and Sanity

We hear comments like this in our trainings all the time (or see it in the eyes of those who don’t dare say it out loud): “You want me to work really hard at being a good rower myself, a good rowing instructor / personal trainer / CrossFit coach / pied piper/Energizer bunny for rowing who takes the sport out to my community … AND you want me to be out there with it on the Web and in social media?  What are you, crazy???”

NOT crazy!  As anybody who’s attended our Programming Intensive  knows, social media and fitness marketing essential to your offline, in-gym/box success.  People will check you out on Google long before they’ll cross your physical threshold.  They need to find you online AND find the same “person” there that they’ll get at your facility.  That’s the way to get people in your classes … and more importantly keep them there.

You can be as busy as you want online.  At UCanRow2 we have one person who spends most of her time promoting our activities there.  That’s overwhelming for most, we know and we’ll do a post soon about how to work your way gradually into this area.  In the meantime though, check out this awesome social media planner from Hubspot that will give you a good start on how to be effective while keeping it all under control.  The blueprint runs you through what do do Monday through Friday to stay up to date on what’s happening in your business, put your own spin on it, then get it out on Facebook, Twitter, your blog if you have one, etc.  Not blogging yet?  Think about it, you should at least have that in your sights for down the road. Substitute another content-generating activity like Facebook posts until you’re ready.

What’s your biggest fear about social media?  Your biggest success?  Share in the comments!

Flywheel Frenzy! Indoor Rowing Training for Home Users and More

Fine tuning Web technique with Concept2 master instructor Terry SmytheIf you’re a home or gym user of the Concept2 rowing machine, we’ve got something new coming just for you: A half-day training that will get you tuned up and ready for new (or renewed) action on the world’s #1 indoor rower!  The workshop is part of our Flywheel Frenzy event at Owens Community College in Toledo, OH on April 12-13.

Join us for Indoor Rowing Foundations for Home Users from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, April 13.  You’ll spend a comprehensive morning tuning up and learning new ways to make the most of the Concept2 Indoor Rower.  We’ll focus on:
– Optimizing your rowing technique, including personalized video critique
– Showing you how to keep your machine in tip-top working order
– Showing you new things you can do with the monitor
– Giving you a slew of new workouts, and
– Taking you on a tour of the Concept 2 website’s resources.
– Bonus: Meet the SkiErg!

Registration for the course is $95.  Just note your course and fee on the registration form.

Want more?  Join us the night before for a master class with Concept2 Master Instructor Terry Smythe from 6:30-8:30.  You’ll spend two hours in OCC’s fitness playground, combining the rower, SkiErg and indoor cycling with other equipment like TRX and free weights.

Register now: $45 ($15 for students) Note your course and fee on the registration form.

And for those who are teaching others or working with clients  on the rowing machine, we’re offering our Programming Intensive on Friday afternoon from 2-5 pm.  We’ll show you how to set yourself apart from the competition by mixing up your workouts with on/off erg work. Combine ergs, TRX straps, free weights and more to create a fat-blasting workout your members will rave about.  Have your rowing technique checked by an expert.  Learn how to use social media to get people into your classes – and keep them there.

Registration fee: $115

Here’s the location for the course:

Owens Community College Toledo Campus
Alumni Hall
30335 Oregon Road
Perrysburg, OH 43551

Questions?  Post them to the comments.