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Row Like A Pro: Tips For Beginners

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Rowing. Some love it. And some want to run to the car and pretend they never even walked into the gym!

Trust us, we get you. Cardio is “hardio”, we get it! BUT it also is super important in your overall approach to building a solid fitness routine.

At NTC we believe in training ALL of the modalities; strength, body weight and endurance.

Why? Because a solid looking body doesn’t come from doing the same thing everyday and challenge is what truly changes you – inside and out!

In comes rowing. Rowing is something that you will likely do weekly with us. It helps to improve power and drive through the legs & is fantastic for developing the aerobic system (but really you can train all the systems) and will work every inch of your body. #yesplease

Two weeks ago Coach Leslie conducted our very first NTC Row Clinic and it was awesome. As a “gift” to you our readers, Leslie outlined all the key points to take your rowing game from novice to pro!

Check it out below and let us know what you think!

Row Like a Pro – The Basics

Here are the Top 3 Benefits of Rowing and why we think you need more of it in your life!

  1. Low Impact → safe form of exercise for various participants 

  2. Rowing exercises several major muscle groups 

  3. Can be used to train all 3 Metabolic Pathways (Oxidative, Phosphagen, Glycolytic) 

The Stroke:

  1. Catch 

    • Seat forward with shins vertical (as close to vertical as possible pending mobility)

    • Arms stretched out; hands placed lightly along ends of handle bar 

    • Body leans slightly forward (1 o’clock position) 

    • Heels OK to be slightly raised 

    • Knees in line with arms 

  2. Drive

    • Starts by initiating legs

    • Energy should be transferred through the heels towards the hamstrings/quads/glutes (like a deadlift) 

    • Body stays straight as you progress through the Drive 

    • Once knees become fully extended do we then swing body back (11 o’clock)

    • Arms follow along the entire ride; elbows flex once knees are straight 

  3. Finish 

    • Elbows tucked in 

    • Abdominal muscles are engaged

    • Body slightly tilted back (11 o’clock) 

  4. Recovery

    • Arms out, body over to upright position 

    • Release legs 

Final Points:

  • Shoulders remain down & relaxed the entire stroke 

  • Light grip on the handle bar 

  • 1:2 Ratio of Drive:Recovery

    • If we want to ↓ Split Time (∴↑ Power) then we focus on slowing our Recovery 

        • “Legs – Body – Arms ………….. Arms – Body – Legs” 

        • S/m = Pace → Aim 22-30s/m depending on the workout 

        • Most Novice-Intermediate Crossfit athletes should be rowing @ damper of 6/7 (men) or 4/5 (women). Same guidelines apply regardless if rowing for meters or cals. 

        • Technique: maximizes work accomplished for energy expended 

And that is it! You now know of all the elements needed to make your next row session a little more strategic.

Our best tip? Be energetically efficient! Think calm and strong & give it all you got!

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