In this weeks blog, we’re explaining how to row faster with every stroke! Why?? Because the number one question, we get asked is “why can’t I keep pace with Shane when he rows??” So here you have it, the real blog title:
How to keep pace with Shane.
All joking aside, this is something that we do get a lot of questions on and rather than answering them individually it makes sense to put the answer on one blog and let you break down and implement the points.
So without further ado, here’s how to row faster.
As simple as it sounds, there’s really only two ways you can row faster.
The mechanics of the rowing stroke is essentially the resistance that your body creates against you when performing the rowing stroke. Here’s an analogy; Imagine I gave you a weighted vest and told you to go swim in it, well not only do you have to keep your body afloat but you also have to move your body efficiently or not only are you fighting the weight of the vest, but you’re also fighting yourself by wasting energy.
Poor mechanics in rowing is like the weighted vest, it slows you down!! Therefore, to row faster, you must improve your mechanics of the stroke.
How do you improve mechanics?
Improve Body Position – focus on the easy wins first by adjusting your head position and looking at the monitor, you’ll improve your hip position and raise your chest to eliminate the rounding of the back. Instead of pushing your hips down the monorail early, you’ll get a much smoother stroke that doesn’t look and feel like you are rowing uphill.
Beyond improving your body and head position, you can find the biggest improvements by improving your timing of the stroke. In a long-axis movement like the rowing stroke, the mistiming of the opening the hips or pulling early with the handle can ruin the connection you have to the machine and decrease the fluidity of the stroke. Again just like swimming by improving the mechanics of your stroke, you not only improve efficiency by increasing your distance per stroke, but also reducing the amount of energy you take with each stroke.
Increasing propulsion primarily comes down to improving the efficacy of your catch. Yes, you can improve your drive, and this will play a role in increasing propulsion, but your biggest improvement (with regard to propulsion) will come from improving the way your hands, and arms catch the water (if you are in a boat).
There are three main phases of the catch:
Initial Catch – when your body hits the furthest point in, closest to the uprights for the monitor. Shins should be vertical, butt back behind shoulders, chin and chest proud and your shoulders should be protracted but active in your extension away from the body.
Brace Phase – The compression of your body and the forming of the brace that allows you to feel that connection to the machine and can focus on the drive of the legs away.
Initiation Phase –The moment of initiation and the pushing your body away from the monitor and the using your hands and arm as an anchor for that continued connection to the machine.
It sounds simple, but it’s true. Start with technique and build speed and endurance off of that. Without technique, you essentially have nothing to build off of. Once you start to get a feel of the stroke, the technique is consistently improving, it’s time to apply training techniques to improve your performance. The best way to do to this is with speed.
“If you want to row faster, train faster”
You might be thinking to yourself, it’s not that easy to just row faster’. You are correct, without changing anything, it’s very hard to all of a sudden row faster. On the flip side, you do have more control over how fast you can row in training than you think. Here are a few tips on how you can do that!
Add Rest – yup! Just give yourself more time to recovery between repetitions and allow yourself to row faster.
Shorter Distance – You can still do the same total distance of workout, in shorter repetitions. This will allow you to hold onto your speed for more reps and keep your technique sharp.
Work with higher SPMs – The lower strokes per min (16-24) are great at improving your technique and working on longer distances but if you want to get good at rowing fast then that 24 need to start looking like a 34 and you need to learn to move faster up and down that monorail.
First focus on technique, then teach your body how to row faster. It’s hard work, but that’s the best way to improve your performance and get to the next level of rowing!
If you’re looking for a training plan to get to the next level with structured workouts, check out The Crew for structured training plans to keep you on track to achieving your goals. http://babblecafe.com/workout
Yours in fitness, education and keeping pace with Shane!!
Photo by Shiro hatori on Unsplash
Hi Shane. What do you mean by shorter repetitions? Are you referring to a half stroke? Thank you.
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I’m a 65 yr old polio survivor my wife is 67. We have a C2 . My wife goes to 250 calories to stop. I go 10k in 55 min. Both of us at 5 fan factor.