When’s the last time you performed a Deadlift? When’s the last time you picked the boat up out of the water? For many of you in Boston and the Northern states it’s been a while, but that ice is almost gone and regular water practices will be happening in no time. Regardless, anytime you pick something up you should be deadlifting, because that’s what a deadlift is. It’s the strongest, most efficient, most powerful way to pick something up off the floor or out of the water.
I believe that if you can learn to hip hinge and deadlift correctly you can and will become a better rower. The key is how you deadlift and what you focus on. Here is a little video review of a pre-elite rower I’ve started working with. This is her form before any coaching. Check out what she’s doing well and what she can do better.
Now take a look at my hip hinge and deadlift below. What parts of the deadlift can we tie to the rowing stroke? I always teach the skills of 1. Posture, 2. Control, and 3. Connection whether it’s rowing or weightlifting.
1. Posture – How am I doing at maintaining a solid brace through my torso? Is there any movement within the vertebrae of the spine?
2. Control – Is the bar traveling in a straight line over the middle of my foot? Am I in control of my body and the bar? Can I stop at any point in time and be in a strong position?
3. Connection – How am I connected to the bar? How am I connected to the floor? Are my hips, hands, and shoulders connected when the bar is below the knee?
After taking a look and answering some of these questions, think about your own stroke. In the front end of your stroke, from 1/2 slide up to the catch and back, how do your joints move in relation to one another and what does your body angle look like? Does it stay the same? When does your body start to swing open? Do you feel or see any similarities when you deadlift and row back to back? Can perfecting one movement help improve the other?
Please share your thoughts to comments and I’ll get back to you with feedback.