Rowing is an excellent exercise for people of all body types and fitness levels. It can be an effective tool in your fitness regimen whether you’re just starting out with CrossFit or have been hitting WODs for years.
Not only is an indoor rower easy to use and accessible, the rowing technique is fairly easy to get the hang of. Rowing has tremendous physical benefits, as well:
– It strengthens 9 major muscle groups
– Is an amazing cardio workout
– Is very low impact
– Burns calories
– Measures your time, distance, calories, and pace
Rowing also offers mental benefits when added to your training. Because the Concept2 rowers that we use at CrossFit Breaux Bridge and CrossFit St. Landry have computer screens that display your pace, time, and distance/calories, you are held accountable for every stroke. For this reason, you learn to pace yourself and “empty the tank” when the time comes — which can make for some very mentally tough men and women!
There are a few common faults in rowing that could be preventing you from experiencing all of its wonderful benefits. Here are 3 faults that I see when coaching and some tips on how to fix them!
#1 Driving from your quads
While it may seem beneficial to slide the seat as far forward as you can to get a long stroke, this position is mechanically disadvantageous for efficiency and muscle stamina. A better position would be to stop once the seat is 1-2 feet away from your heels. This “catch” position will allow for your hamstrings and gluteus muscles to initiate the drive into your next stroke. It’s important that these muscles are used predominantly—rather than your quads—because they can help you row harder for longer.
#2 Not straightening your legs entirely
This fault is very subtle but can cost you a lot of wasted time if you’re not aware of it. Many people have a strong, confident drive to start their stroke, but fail to finish through their knees. Be sure to squeeze your quads at the end of your drive so that no effort is lost in your pull.
#3 Pulling the handle through your wrists
Another subtle, yet detrimental, fault in rowing is to pull the handle through the wrist to make contact with the abdomen at the end of the stroke. If your goal is to complete as full of a stroke as you possibly can, that’s great! But you should do it by pulling completely through your elbows and upper back, not your wrists. The flexion of the wrist joint will cause the forearms to engage, which will eventually cause them to fatigue, which will then lead to slower, less forceful rowing. Be sure to keep your wrists flat and in a neutral position when finishing your pull.
This list covers a few faults but is by no means extensive. If you struggle with rowing and could use more guidance or would just like to hone up on your skills with a few more tips, schedule a 30-minute skill session with me or one of our other qualified coaches so we can help you row-row-row your boat!
Hang Power Clean+Push Jerk (1 rep max)
Heaviest 1 rep of a hang power clean and push jerk
5 Rounds for time:
12 Deadlifts, 155# / 105#
9 Hang Power Cleans, 155# / 105#
6 Push Jerks, 155# / 105#
Front Squats (5-4-3-2-1-1)