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Row, Row, Row – Proper Form On Concept 2

No, not the boat. Concept 2 rower.

Last Sunday I attended an Indoor Rowing Clinic at CrossFit Newmarket Central.

The biggest lesson from the clinic was the chest positioning during the stroke – apparently, it is supposed to be the exact opposite of what I thought it’d be. I would normally try to round the back when my knees were bent, trying to get as much length to the stroke as possible, and then straighten the legs and flatten/open my chest at the end of the stroke.

Nope. Exact opposite. No wonder my mid-back and lower back would get sore if I rowed any more than fifteen minutes in a row.

Here are some TAKEAWAYS:

  • Hold the handle bar by the ends – thumbs down, elbows down.

  • Keep chest round and contained, except at the start of the stroke.

  • Legs, arms, upper body. Legs straighten first, when you pass the knees, you start pulling with your arms, not earlier.

  • Upper body, arms, legs. On the return, upper body bends at the hips and arms straighten at the same time. Then there is a small lag until legs start to straighten. Not having that pause on the return – between arms straightening and knees starting to straighten is one of most common mistakes in rowing.

  • There is no muscle involved on the return from the finish of the stroke – it’s all slide. This is where you recover!

  • At the very beginning of the stroke (when knees are bent, and you are at your closest to the wheel), extend and open your chest. Shoulder blades back. You do not need to round the back and bend forward to reach further – that’s how you lose your power. Keep tall. Like this:

Here’s my corrected form (still some kinks to work on, but so much better!).

What it would like if I were to row, row, row (and row) for years to come.

Here we are with Gernot himself. All smiles!

The main takeaway message was: everything you have been doing so far – do the opposite. #mindblown

YOUR TURN: Have you learned any “do the opposite” lessons in your training?

Liked this post? You may enjoy learning about how to run downhill fast and why squats are the best exercise ever.

Hugs, SOLO


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