Olympic Lifting and Rowing?
What do you think about using Olympic Lifting in training to be a Rower or using Rowing to be a better Olympic Lifter? Both require speed and power and incorporate similar movement patterns. However, in rowing you sit down and are in contact with three surfaces. In Olympic Lifting you are only in contact with two. In Olympic lifting the goal is to transfer forces vertically and in rowing the goal is to transfer forces horizontally. Where do you see the most benefit in training with both? Are there downfalls?
One skill, concept, and idea that I keep coming back to is Connection. Coaching people in the gym and on the water allows me to see many different movement patterns and levels of ability. Athletes that grasp this idea of connection from one joint to another and one external object to another are able to learn faster, create more power, and transfer skills to other movements. Learning to connect the hips to the hands as you initiate a movement or connect your feet to your hands at the catch, both in rowing and snatching, is invaluable. Once this skill is perfected the possibilities are endless.
Recently I introduced the snatch to the BC Men’s Crew Team. While we only worked with PVC pipes to begin with and 45# bars in the workout, the importance of generating speed through the middle of the drive and being turned on at the catch became apparent. Those that had explosive hip extension from rowing and knew how to create speed on the oar through the middle of the drive in the boat had a lot more success transferring that skill to the barbell.
Using the Clean and the Snatch to generate speed on the drive through good connection is a lot of fun. Rowers become athletes and are empowered to push harder by learning new movements and finding power they never knew they had. It’s also a lot of fun seeing olympic lifters and other athletes learn to row because it helps them to find more connection and speed in their lifts.
Post your thoughts to comments! Any experience transferring skills from one sport to another?