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
Below are some proper finish positions from people in the CrossFit St. Louis rowing class.
What’s your biggest technique pet peeve? Post it to the comments!
Updated Dec. 30, 2022