How to Row a Rowing Machine – The Rowing Stroke

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The Catch – How to Row Technique – Concept2 RowErg® Rowers.

The Catch

  • Arms are straight and relaxed. Head is in a neutral position. Shoulders are level and not hunched. The position should be comfortable.
  • The upper body is leaning forward from the hips, with the shoulders in front of the hips.
  • Shins should be vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you; they should not move beyond perpendicular.
  • Heels may be lifted as needed.
The Drive – How to Row Technique – Concept2 RowErg® Rowers.

The Drive

  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs, then swinging your back through the vertical position, and finally adding the arm pull.
  • Hands with a loose grip on the handle move in a straight line to and from the flywheel.
  • Shoulders should remain low and relaxed.
The Finish – How to Row Technique – Concept2 RowErg® Rowers.

The Finish

  • Upper body should be leaning back slightly, using good support from the core muscles
  • Legs should be extended and the handle should be held lightly below your ribs. The arms should draw the handle past the knees to the body.
  • Shoulders should be low, and wrists and grip relaxed. Wrists should be flat.
The Recovery – How to Row Technique – Concept2 RowErg® Rowers.

The Recovery

  • Extend your arms until they are straightened, then lean from the hips towards the flywheel.
  • Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.
  • For your next stroke, return to the catch position with your shoulders relaxed and your shins vertical.

1. Getting Started with Indoor Rowing

Getting started with indoor rowing is simple and straightforward! All you need is a rowing machine, comfortable clothing, and some basic rowing technique knowledge. Before you begin, take the time to stretch and warm up your muscles to help you stay injury-free. Additionally, focus on keeping your form correct while you’re rowing, as this is essential for making progress in your practice. Finally, remember to listen to your body closely and take breaks as needed. With dedication and consistent practice, you can become an expert in indoor rowing!

The rowing technique is the same for all models; the RowErg® with tall legs (formerly Model E) indoor rower is shown.

2. Learn the Correct Rowing Technique

3. Common Rowing Technique Errors

4. Rowing with Greater Intensity

When you want to row with higher intensity, you can read out your efforts on the display of the precise PM5 performance monitor. Learn how to use the PM5 monitor.

With a compatible heart-rate belt, you can row in different heart-rate zones , depending on your training goals.

A Glossary of Indoor Rowing Machines is provided below:

  1. Ergometer (or “erg” for short) – a machine that simulates the action of rowing on water, used for indoor training and competition.
  2. Catch – the beginning of the rowing stroke, when the oar is placed in the water.
  3. Drive – the middle of the rowing stroke, when the rower uses their legs, back, and arms to propel the boat forward.
  4. Finish – the end of the rowing stroke, when the oar is removed from the water and the legs are fully extended.
  5. Recovery – the period between the finish of one stroke and the catch of the next.
  6. Split – the time it takes to complete one stroke.
  7. Rate – the number of strokes taken per minute.
  8. Power – a measure of the amount of work done during a stroke.
  9. Distance per stroke (DPS) – the amount of distance covered during one stroke.
  10. Rower – a person who rows on an ergometer.
  11. Damper – a lever on the ergometer that controls the resistance of the flywheel.
  12. Monitor – a display that shows the rower’s performance, including time, distance, and power.
  13. Drag Factor – a number that represents the resistance of the water.
  14. PM5 – The performance monitor that comes with the Concept2 rowing machines, which provide detailed data about the workout.
  15. 2K – A 2-kilometer distance standard indoor rowing test.
  16. Concept2 RowErg® – The most popular brand of indoor rowing machines. (The well known Concept2 Model D and Model E was renamed “RowErg” effective April 2021. The only difference is the new name and machine graphics).