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Rowing Chain of Engagement


To be a more productive rower we need to be stronger on two of the major movements in the row.


- The leg drive

- The pull into the finish position.


Here we will go through the phases of the row and how we can become better in no time at all.


The Catch


This is the beginning of the stroke, in reality where the oar connects with the water. Lean forward and take the slack from the chain, keep the muscles engaged in your back and good posture. Your shins will ideally be vertical and your heels will be slightly lifted.


The Drive


The drive is in two phases, firstly extending at the knees to drive the seat backwards like you are deadlifting away from the floor, big and powerful legs drive here! Keep your arms extended and your back nice and long, keep good posture as much as possible. The second phase of the drive now comes into play, when your legs are in full extension, open your hips and lean back. It's very important here to engage your glutes and core, stay nice and proud in the chest.


The finish


The stroke is finished by pulling the handle to your sternum (just below the rib cage) lean back to about a 1 o’clock position, shoulders slightly behind the hips. You can flick the handle towards the body if you wish, some do, some don't.


The Recovery


This is so important to get right, your recovery is just the same but in reverse order. Slow and deliberate and just in the following order. Arms first, then body, then legs, you're then back in the catch position to drive again. Remember the word “recovery” this is where you can get it so right or so wrong. Slow in recovery and speed in the drive!! Keep slight tension on the chain.


If we can get our stroke rate down from 30 strokes per minute with a very fast recovery to 24/25 strokes with a nice controlled recovery whilst losing no power from the drive we can control our breathing better and in a 10 minute row make 50 fewer strokes!!


Remember these simple facts to be a better rower…….


1, Legs, hips, core, back, arms is the muscular recruitment for the power part of the row.

2, Drive powerfully and quickly and recover slowly.


3, Sit proudly chest up and out with shoulders back, no hunching.