When’s the last time you performed a Push Up or Pull Up? When’s the last time you Rowed? Now that we’re on the water it’s probably every day. Regardless, anytime you draw through the finish whether on an erg or in a boat, you are putting your upper body into a similar position and movement pattern as the push up and pull up. It’s the strongest, most efficient way to get yourself off the floor and send a boat. If you need to move more weight and create more power in a race you will need a strong position at the finish. That is where we can take advantage of practicing and training full range of motion push ups and pull ups.
I believe that if you can learn to move your body weight from the floor to a plank position or from underneath a bar to touching the bar with good form, you can and will become a better rower. The key is how you push, pull, and what you focus on. Here is a video review of Coach Pat and what he thinks about in regards to push ups, pull ups, and rowing. Check out what he does well and look for things he can do better.
What parts of these movements 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 strength training.
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 my body in one straight line the whole time I perform the movement? Am I in control of my body at all points in time? Can I stop at any point in time and be in a strong position?
3. Connection – How are my hands connected to the box/bar/or floor? How are my feet connected to the floor? Are my hips, torso, and shoulders connected and moving together through the whole range of motion?
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? Can you stay connected? Do you break or tense your arms early? Is your shoulder and upper body strong enough to connect the power coming from your legs to your hands? Do you feel or see any similarities when you perform push ups, pull ups, and rowing back to back? How’s your posture and brace at the finish? Can perfecting these movements help improve your rowing?
Please share your thoughts to comments and I’ll get back to you with feedback.