How to Improve Your Rowing Technique
Rowing is a fundamental movement within functional fitness circles. Inside the box, the rower is a key piece of equipment - but it's rising in popularity within the wider community, too.
That said, rowing is often misunderstood. If you don't have your technique sorted, it's going to be hard work. If you dread walking into the box and seeing "row" anywhere on the whiteboard - this post is for you!
Keep It Steady
The biggest mistake people make when they start rowing is to just move as fast as possible. This isn't the most efficient way to row, and you'll end up exhausted fast.
Try slowing it down. Keep your rowing steady, and focus on getting more power behind the pull, instead. This is a much more efficient way to row - and you'll start to feel it in all the right places (i.e. not just in your lungs).
Use Your Legs
Rowing should use your whole body - NOT just your arms. Your legs should be the main driving force - generating power as you push from the start of the movement.
Your arms don't even come into it at this stage. This is your opportunity to make the most out of those quads and glutes you work so hard for - don't let that strength go to waste!
Don't Pull Too Early
As we've already mentioned, the start of the movement is all about the legs. Your arms should be relaxed at this stage - effectively used as 'hooks' to hold the handles.
Keep them relaxed, and keep your core engaged. Once your legs are extended, hinge at the hip until you're sitting upright - then you can pull with the arms. There's no need to overdo this - finish the pull with your arms, then go back for the next stroke.
Reverse the Movement
Once you reach the top of the movement, follow the sequence in reverse. That is, take your arms back first, then your hips - and then your legs.
This will help you keep a steady rhythm, as well as keeping your body engaged in all the right places.
Watch Your Forearms
Do your forearms start to burn mid-way through any rowing workout? You're probably holding on too tight.
There's no need to grip the handles until you're white in the knuckles. This puts unnecessary strain on your forearms, and may impede you in the rest of the workout - especially if it's a grippy one.
Try to keep your arms, hands and elbows as relaxed as possible throughout the movement.
Keep Your Core Engaged
I know this crops up in almost every technique-focused post, but it's so important!
So many people seem to forget about their core when they're rowing - causing all kinds of weird and wonderful technique problems. Don't be one of them!
Learn How to Pace
The best rowing speed, damper setting and pull strength will depend upon the length you're required to row.
Once you've sorted out all the other issues we've highlighted, have a play around with pacing to figure out how you can get more efficient. There are several tools to help you with this on the display settings - or check out this calculator from Concept 2 to get started.
Want to put your rowing to the test? Don't forget to check out Train Manchester's Just ROW event - taking place on the 3rd April 2016. Click the link for more details.