Too often the indoor rowing machine is overlooked on the gym floor, appearing menacing if you haven’t learnt the basics of good indoor rowing technique. Learning the six stages of a strong indoor rowing stroke will help you get the most from each workout and ensure you are using your FDF water rowing machine correctly.
Indoor rowing improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength by engaging all major muscle groups simultaneously. Not only will a rigorous workout on an indoor rowing ergometer burn fat and combust serious calories, it will challenge you no matter what level of fitness you are.
Learning to master a good indoor rowing technique means you can achieve a smooth repetitive cyclic motion on the indoor rower. The three phases from catch to finish are generally grouped together as “The Stroke”, as this is when the effective work is done, and the three phases from Finish to Catch are called “The Recovery”. The key to good indoor rowing technique is to think of all six movements as a complete cycle, in which one phase flows seamlessly into the next.
There are six phases to completing a rowing stroke.
Sit with the legs straight, back straight but leaning slightly back from the hips, arms straight and hands level with the lower ribs. Now swing back.
Legs still straight, back still straight, but now leaning slightly forward from the hips, arms still out in front. Now slide and lean forward. NOTE: your hands should now be forward of your knees while your legs are still straight.
Legs fully compressed – aim to get shins close to the vertical, but not beyond. Back still straight, and leaning slightly forward, as in position B, and arms still out in front. Now drive hard – this is THE CATCH
Knees partially straightened so seat is now at mid-point of travel, back and arms still just as in positions 2 and 3. Now maintain the stroke.
Knees nearly straight, so seat is at 3/4 point of travel, back still straight but now leaning slightly back from hips. Arms still straight. Now squeeze through.
Legs now fully extended and with back still straight as per position 5. Keep arms pulled in so hands are close to chest, forearms horizontal, and elbows close in to rib cage. This is THE FINISH.