Breathing Techniques for Indoor Rowing

Do you have a good breathing rhythm for your indoor rowing workout?

Using the correct breathing technique is important when it comes to getting the most out of your indoor rowing workout. However, there is some confusion around what the correct technique is, with some people believing it’s the same as a deadlift and others believing the opposite.

Using the same breathing techniques as you would to perform a deadlift would mean you would exhale on the catch and inhale during recovery. The problem with this is that your diaphragm would be fully inflated during the catch and drive stages, which would cause you to lose one or two inches in stroke length. Since stroke length is a direct variable in determining spilt time on an indoor rowing machine, you would automatically end up with a lower split.

Another issue with this breathing technique is that it puts unnecessary pressure on your lower back. The correct posture is highly important when it comes to indoor rowing. During the finish stage of your stroke, maximum pressure is placed on the lower back as your entire body weight is leaning backwards, braking and then bracing to push your body forward again. If you continue to exhale during this stage, your posture may begin to slouch as your seat slides forward, meaning your back is not supported and you’re more likely to become injured.

Alternatively, inhaling on the catch and exhaling on the recovery will allow you to fully maximise your stroke length. This will help you maximise your split time as well. Your core will be fully engaged to help your body brace naturally, which supports your back and assists you with the correct posture. Your body should be upright, with your chest full and wrists flat.

The goal is to get your breathing to become mechanical to the point where you don’t need to think about it. Practice makes perfect, so it’s important to get used to the correct technique by rowing at a moderate stroke rate and focusing on breathing.