Rowing Form Check

  • torontoguy222...

    Posts: 411

    Feb 14, 2012 3:51 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I've posted before about my rather slow rowing speeds and questions of form. I'm able to row steadily for, say, 10-15 minutes at about 2.15/2.20 per 500m, which isn't all that great. Maybe I'm just out of shape, but I thought I'd post a vid of my form that I finally took to see if anyone can spot any problems that might be holding me back.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 26, 2012 6:18 AM GMT
    Your drive and lean back look quite decent, actually. The recovery is what needs work.

    1. Quickly move your hands out before sliding forward. You are moving them out, but aren't locking them fully prior to rolling forward.

    2. When doing the above, it is also the time to set the body angle. Angle your back slightly forward. You are also doing this later on.

    Basically move your arms out and slightly learn forward before rolling forward. It didn't look like you had any problems with it (as I said, the drive didn't look bad), but on the drive push with your legs and lock them before pulling in with the arms. Until your legs are down your hanging on the handle with the forward body angle.
  • TheIStrat

    Posts: 777

    Feb 26, 2012 6:45 AM GMT
    You really need consistent coaching in person. Are you on a team or do you just erg?
  • NYCAthlete

    Posts: 132

    Feb 26, 2012 6:48 AM GMT
    1- you need to engage your legs earlier at the catch. Your back is moving before your legs, but you should be hitting your legs first.

    2- your legs and back are finishing before your arms. They should finish together.

    3- as said above, you need to get your hands out more quickly after the finish. They should go out quickly followed by your back then breaking the legs.
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    Feb 26, 2012 6:56 AM GMT
    Thanks, TPH2S, for the comment because I was comparing the OP's positioning to what I do. Once thing I do that isn't clearly shown in the video is that I straighten my back much further so that it's not exactly lying down but more of a 30 degree angle if you know what I mean. So, my question is: when your legs are "locked" back (ie you straightened them) what would be an ideal angle to pull upper body back to?

    I also noticed the bar comes back higher up on the body - to the OP's mid pec area if I saw correctly. When I do it the bar usually hits just above the abdomen, near to the bottom of the rib cage (hits the upper six-pack area if that makes sense). Where should I be aiming for?


    edit: I just found the answer I was looking for on Youtube. It seems I gotta watch for excessive layback. Thanks, OP, for the forum post because it didn't occur to me to look online for an answer and Youtube has some ready info on proper techniques
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    Feb 28, 2012 6:33 AM GMT
    For other people to reference, rowing on an erg is different than the rowing lift movement such that you pull into your chest rather than your torso. So what the OP was doing was correct.

    Also, I think the OP's lay-back is just about right.

    "2- your legs and back are finishing before your arms. They should finish together."
    They meaning arms and back? Legs should finish before both arms and back since the majority of the power comes from legs.
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    Feb 28, 2012 6:39 AM GMT
    On the recovery, allow your arms to go forward and your back bend at the hips just enough till you feel the pull in the back of your legs, only then should you bend your knees up. This should give you a more powerful send off after you've recovered.
  • torontoguy222...

    Posts: 411

    Feb 28, 2012 2:29 PM GMT
    Thanks for the replies! I'll be sure to look at my return next time I row.

    ThelStrat: I row just for exercise/cardio. I'm not on any team (the 5am practices kept me away).
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    Mar 03, 2012 5:17 PM GMT
    i used to row competitively in highschool and university and at club level. remember that rowing is a lot of leg action. it appears to me that at the "catch" you are activating your arms/shoulders before anything else. the arms are really just connectors to the oars (or in this case, the erg handle). the legs do most of the work in rowing. u finish with your arms in the latter half of the stroke, and lay back about 30-45 degrees at the end in order to extend your stroke.

    on the recovery, you have to quickly let your hands out and move them away from your torso, before leaning your back up, and then tucking your legs in, in preparation for the next catch.

    now, if you were rowing in a racing shell on the water with oars, then you would need to slightly dip your hands at the catch to clear the blade from the water surface, and then lift your hands in order to plunge the oar blades into the water. you don't need to do either of these things in erg rowing because there is no oar blade to clear, and no water surface! just lock your arms and think of them as ropes to connect your shoulders to the oar. your shoulders should be relaxed, and you don't need to shrug or activate them in any significant way.

    one point that might help you. i notice you are sitting quite upright, especially at the catch. i wonder if you move your foot straps higher (so that your feet are not so low compared to the height of your seat) if that wouldn't help somewhat.

    rowing is an excellent sport. if you can get on the water, i highly recommend it. its a beautiful sport to watch and to participate in!