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Row Like a Pro

Rowing on the Concept 2 Rower A.K.A. an ergometer (ERG) may look easy; however, there is more than meets the eye. It is a total body movement – a true test of physical and mental performance.

I often see people casually rowing. They look like they’re on a Sunday morning stroll getting real chatty with their neighbor. As the minutes pass by, they get increasingly more lazy with their form and instead of looking like a fluid movement it becomes disjointed. Don’t get me wrong, this pace is OK for an active rest day, but if this is your style on the regular than you’re doing it all wrong. Rowing should be thought of as an explosive and powerful movement and not done carelessly. If you want to improve your overall fitness and optimize your performance, start by mastering your technique. So the next time you saddle up on the Concept 2 Rower think to yourself “what can I be doing that will help me harness my full potential?”


Like I mentioned above, the rowing stroke is a continuous, fluid movement. It should never look or feel like separate movements. I will; however, break it down into four constituent parts that will help you better understand the exercise.

The Catch: Sit down with your legs bent and put you feet in the stirrups so your shins are vertical. Keeping your back flat and core engaged, lean your torso forward by hinging at your hips. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of your hips and extend your arms to grab the handle.

The Drive: When you initiate the drive, you’ll want to maintain a straight back with a forward body angle, tight core, and lock arms. Then powerfully drive your legs back. When your legs are almost fully straightened, begin opening up your torso by hinging backwards with your hips. Once your torso is upright (90-degree angle with the floor), begin to pull with your arms by bending at the elbows.

The Finish: As your legs reach full extension, you should finish the stroke with a powerful arm pull to your lower chest. Your elbows should be bent behind the torso and arms slightly away from your ribcage. Do not have them flare out to the sides.

The Recovery: As you return to the catch position, mirror the drive by first straightening your arms. When the arms are almost fully extended, begin to hinge your torso forward from the hips. Remember to keep your back straight and core tight. The knees will begin to bend as the handle passes over them. At this point, slowly slide the seat forward. The recovery phase should take about twice as long as the drive.




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