There is a common flaw among indoor rowers to go hard on the drive and in their effort to recover slowly, inadvertently stop the handle and rest it on the legs, or even pause or stop during the recovery en route to the catch. While this may allow you to catch your breath, it’s not helping you be efficient and it effs up the consistency of your technique and stroke on the recovery. Below is a video of what I’m talking about. When I see people do this, Lil Jon shouts in my head, “Turn down for what?”. Why are you slowing down the flywheel and basically stopping mid stroke?
In the video above I am rowing about a 16 stroke rate, driving hard, and catching my breath on the recovery. The problem is, in rowing, your hands should always be moving. You can still come in nice and slow to the catch, but don’t stop. Glide to the catch slower. At the finish of your drive, redirect the hands back to the flywheel, follow with the body, and then slowly layer in the bend of the knees to get you to the next stroke. By half slide coming back in, you should have shoulders in front of hips so you are ready to go for the next stroke at the catch and not trying to get into position at the last minute. See video below:
This video shows slower stroke rate rowing with hands constantly moving.
Whether you are rowing a 16 or a 30, your hands should always be moving and your recovery sequence of “arms, body and legs” should look the same. The slower your stroke rate, the longer it takes you to get back to the catch. The faster you are stroking, obviously, the less time you have to recover. But nothing else changes technique-wise. For more info on how to recover on your rowing stroke, see this article.
So keep that handle moving and breathe on your way in. You’ll be set up early for success on your next stroke. And Lil Jon won’t be screaming at you.
(This article is a repost from October 2014 when I originally posted it on the CrossFit St. Louis blog.)