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How to Row: Indoor Rowing Technique

The Rowing Stroke

How it works: The drive is the work portion of the stroke; the recovery is the rest portion that prepares you for the next drive. The body movements of the recovery are essentially the reverse of the drive. Blend these movements into a smooth continuum to create the rowing stroke.

The Catch

  • Arms are straight; head is neutral; shoulders are level and not hunched.

  • Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders in front of the hips.

  • Shins are vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you. Shins should not move beyond perpendicular.

  • Heels may lift as needed.

The Drive

  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs, and then swing the back through the vertical position before finally adding the arm pull.

  • Hands move in a straight line to and from the flywheel.

  • Shoulders remain low and relaxed.

The Finish

  • Upper body is leaning back slightly, using good support from the core muscles.

  • Legs are extended and handle is held lightly below your ribs.

  • Shoulders should be low with wrists and grip relaxed. Wrists should be flat.

The Recovery

  • Extend your arms until they straighten before leaning from the hips towards the flywheel.

  • Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.

  • For your next stroke, return to the catch position with shoulders relaxed and shins vertical.

Did you know? Your breathing rhythms can affect your workout. With a little practice, you can relate your breath to your stroke. For tips on how to breathe while rowing, visit our Breathing Techniques page for more.

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