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3 Tips To Help Improve Your Rowing

Often times rowing is looked at as just conditioning and another torture device for coaches to make you sweat. Getting better at it sounds "bleh" and most of time everything starts to ache when you row too long.

And if you're like me…

You're guilty of just strapping in your feet and grinding out 1,000's of meters without taking a second to think about efficiency and/or form.

The reality is that rowing with attention to some details can be an amazing tool to utilize in your fitness and can really expedite your performance in the gym.

So, today…

I want to give you 3 Tips To Help You Improve Your Rowing and some specific Coach's training cues that you can apply the next time you're at Reign Fitness (or your gym).

Tip 1 | Relax

For many of you who've rowed 2k or more…

You've probably quickly realized that keeping tension in the upper body is not only a waste of energy it's not sustainable for very long. What naturally happens is the arms, the grip, and upper body relax out of fatigue however this is exactly the proper technique we want you to utilize for rowing efficiency.

Relax The Upper Body:

  • Keep a relaxed neutral spine and neck

  • Hands are in a relaxed grip on the handle. (thumbs should be able to move freely)

  • Shoulders should be relaxed and down.

Keeping tension in the upper body can lead to improper positioning through the row and loss of power. Tension in the arms and grip can also lead to an upper body pull rather than a much more powerful lower body drive.

Coach's Training Tip:

The next time you catch yourself pulling with the upper body or fatiguing quickly, check your grip. Make sure it's relaxed and continues to stay loose.

Tip 2 | Leg Drive

One of the most common mistakes we see athletes make when they row is pull with their upper body rather drive with their legs.

In the same way we don't like anyone yanking a deadlift off the ground with the upper body and arms… you should also be mindful of the same fault while rowing. Instead, the upper body should create proper positioning while the legs drive through the movement.

The leg drive needs to initiate the movement and be powerful while the arms simply guide the handle to chest as you finish through extension.

Coach's Training Tip:

Practice with driving through the row with your heels down in order to generate more force through the feet. This can also help activate the butt and hamstring muscles which play as the main drivers.

Tip 3 | Hinge & Catch

Perhaps the most important aspect of the row, the hinge and catch can truly change the game for your rowing and understanding it may take effort but it's well worth your time.

The catch is the position in which you initiate your row after each extension needs to be a hip hinge position. The hip hinge is similar to the pattern you see in a hang clean, Kb deadlift, Kb Swing, deadlift…

Your Hinge Points of Performance in the Catch:

  • Hips are behind the shoulders

  • Spine and Neck are neutral

  • Knees are straight in front of hips

  • Shoulders are down but not tense and pulled back

  • Glutes and Hamstrings are loaded.

By taking the time to set-up a good hinge position, you ensure a powerful drive and efficient row.

Coach's Training Tip:

After you have fully extended through the drive, think about pulling your butt back slightly before you begin to slide back forward. This little move can help you better position yourself for a good hinge and catch.

For more great information on Rowing technique basics check out this following video (Part 1 in a series), one that we've referenced many times to help coaches and Reign Fitness Athletes:

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