Who doesn’t want to look hotter and last longer in all that they do? If your rowing is bad and you think rowing sucks, you have an opportunity to live a stronger, fitter, and more vital life. Don’t Row Bad.
Instead of telling you all the awesome reasons to row, this post will try to give you the pitfalls of rowing in hopes that you can avoid them, make rowing suck less, and have more fun with one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
When rowing pops up in the open, in next months programming, or at your next competition, follow these three tips to not Row Bad.
Don’t: Have Bad Posture
#1 – Everyone Wants to Be Taller …
Posture is the key to vitality and the number one thing you will probably lose when you first start to row. Let’s face it, it’s hard to sit all day in an office or in a car and then be expected to sit tall and row strong in the gym. However, if you can focus on one thing that will make you more attractive, more efficient, and more productive it would be holding better posture. Before picking apart any other part of your rowing stroke, take 5 minutes to focus on posture.
Be Taller: Have Good Posture
Try This: Row for 5 minutes and pause every 5 strokes to check your posture. Can you enter and exit the pause with perfect posture? Can you hold good posture all the way through the next 5 strokes? Imagine your significant other or future significant other is about to walk into the room, how tall do you want to be when they see you for the first time?
#2 – Use the Bigger Guns …
Don’t: Use the Arms before the Legs
Most of us like to show off our guns at the beach, but they tend to get in the way when we row. Our Bigger Guns, the legs, can create more power and move the boat further per stroke if initiated first. Our legs have bigger muscles and more muscle fibers to use than our arms. They are better suited for the heavier part of the stroke, the front end. When the fan is moving the slowest at the front end of the stroke, focus on pushing with the legs rather than pulling with the arms. Remember, at the front end of the stroke, when the arms bend, the power ends. Do more! Use the Bigger Guns first!
At the Front End: Push Legs First
Try This: Start at the front end and take 3 strokes using the legs only, then take 3 full strokes. Repeat this sequence for 3 minutes. Can you push the legs down without changing your body angle or breaking your elbows in the first 3 legs only strokes? Can you blend the leg drive into the 3 full strokes without being robotic or breaking the elbows early?
#3 – Get Over Yourself and Don’t Fall Off …
Don’t: Fall off your sit bones or pull w/ toes on the foot straps
No one likes a big-headed know it all with an ego. No one wants to fall of their seat. Good things to remember when you finish the stroke. If you were to let go of the handle at the end of the stroke would you fall backward off the seat? If so you probably aren’t sitting in a good position. Stay on top of your sit bones when you finish the stroke, don’t fall off them! Also, if you don’t get over your seat/hips/sit bones before sliding forward you will end up doing more work than necessary and wasting energy. Finish the stroke, sit tall, get your shoulders stacked over your hips, then relax and enjoy sliding forward. Don’t pull yourself forward with your toes/foot straps. Relax your legs!
Sit Tall, Be On Sit Bones, Keep Bottom of Foot Connected to Footboard
Try This: Row with your feet on top of the foot straps for 5 minutes. Can you keep your feet connected to the footboards through the finish? Can you stay on your sit bones and get over your seat before letting it slide forward? How smooth can you be? Show everyone you know what you’re doing, but be smooth. No need for an ego.
If you practice these three tips one at a time over the next week as part of your warm up, you will look hotter and last longer in anything you set your mind to, especially rowing.
For even more pro tips and ways to increase vitality through rowing, sign your gym’s rowing team up for the Charles River Rowing League 2016.
If you don’t have a team let me know and I’ll help you set one up!