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
Below are some proper finish positions from people in the CrossFit St. Louis rowing class.
Jim finishes strong
Leeny Hoffman showing how it's done
What’s your biggest technique pet peeve? Post it to the comments!
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.
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.
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!
Updated Sept. 25, 2018
How’s your rowing workout been lately? Would you like to get more of the benefits of rowing machine workouts? We hear all the time from people who say they’re not performing as well as they’d like. They want to get their times down and their meters up but they’re not sure how to do that.
The difference between a good workout and a great one is in how you apply power on every stroke. That’s true whether your goals are getting a PR on your next 2K, losing 20 lbs. or simply making the most of the time you have on the machine.
In this video, UCanRow2 founder Terry Smythe shows you how to use your monitor to gauge your power output. She also gives you a drill that will help you get faster and stronger on the machine.
Rowing Technique – Generating Power from UCanRow2 on Vimeo.
Key Benefits of Rowing Machine Workouts
- One-stop shopping workout: Rowing is a total-body workout
- Non-impact: It works virtually every muscle on every stroke, with no impact
- It meets you where you are – if you can hold a handle and pull, the rowing machine can probably be modified to fit your needs
- It takes you as far as you want to go – From easy, relaxing rows to some of the toughest competition in sport, the rowing machine is there for you.
- You’re never too old to row: No matter your age, there’s a rowing record in your category, and since the machine is gentle on the joints, there really is no limit to when you can start rowing
- Cross training: Rowing is great cross-training, and a great break, for athletes who do other sports. Running, triathlon, skiing, cycling and more.
- Weight loss: Because the rowing machine is non-impact, and offers such a great variety of workout options, it’s perfect for people who want to lose weight, a little or a lot.
What questions do you have about building more power in your stroke and workouts? Post them in the comments below and we’ll answer!
Want workouts that put this all together for you, in a downloadable package that’s ready to take to the gym or your home rowing machine? Check out our Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy rowing workout programs.
For Further Reading:
Ramp Up Your Rowing Workout With Undefined Rest
10 Indoor Rowing Workouts to Kill 10K
Interval Workout of the Day: Ramp it Up