Two Drills to Polish Your Pulls on the Rower

Teach your body to achieve and maintain the correct positions, so you get the most from every stroke.

When it comes to rowing, movement efficiency is the name of the game. An error in technique might cost you only a tiny percentage of your available power, but that is multiplied, stroke after stroke, until you’re minutes behind your competition.

Proper rowing technique takes less out of you and puts more into the rower. The result is you feel better, go faster, and are less prone to overuse injury. What’s not to love? So the next time you sit down, try these drills to make sure you’re getting the most from every pull.

The Legs-Only Drill

The legs-only drill sequence is one of the most important drills in rowing. It helps you to practice using your strongest muscles to move the handle, while maintaining a strong and relaxed posture.

The glutes and quads initiate the movement of the handle. The lats and core connect the movement of the seat to the handle. The angle of the body should remain forward as long as possible to allow the utilization of a strong hip swing at the end of the leg drive. If the upper body swings back too soon, the ability to utilize the hip swing is lost. Mastering this movement pattern can be difficult, but implementing this drill will only improve your rowing stroke.

The Pause Drill

The pause drill is a rowing drill used to practice good posture, handle and body preparation, and stillness into and out of the catch by slowing down the rowing stroke. On the water, these pauses can be used as gathering points for a crew as well. By emphasizing parts of the stroke that should be used as check points for proper body positioning, the pause drill will help to instill good habits and technique.

Shown in the video are the pauses at the finish and at body-over. Two other pauses often used are the pause at arms-away and at 1/4 slide.