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 neutral. Shoulders are level and not hunched. The position should feel comfortable.
  • Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders
    in front of the hips.
  • Shins are vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you. Shins should not move beyond perpendicular.
  • Heels may lift as needed.
The Drive – How to Row Technique – Concept2 RowErg® Rowers.

The Drive

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

The Finish

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

The Recovery

  • Extend your arms until they straighten before leaning 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 shoulders relaxed and shins vertical.


1. Getting Started Rowing

(The rowing technique is the same for all models. The higher Model E indoor rower is shown.)

2. 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.

Glossary of Rowing:

  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.