5 tips to improve on the rowing machine

Posted on July 25, 2021 by

If using a rowing machine is currently part of your training program, or something you want to incorporate, consider these five tips focused on improving your performance.

As with training for any sport, planning and consistency is key. Plan your session, know how long you would like to spend on the rowing machine and consider the below advice to improve your rowing machine performance.


1. Fuel your body appropriately

The right nutrition pre and post your rowing machine session will help provide enough energy to get you through a hard workout, as well as boosting your recovery following the session. Read the NSWIS athlete nutrition blog for specific advice.


2. World class warm-up

Start with a well thought out dynamic warm up that includes mobility exercises, glute activation and scapula control.

Be aware of your body and know which areas need special attention. Tight areas such as hip flexors, glutes, lower backs, shoulders and others can really benefit from some extra activation and stretching before jumping onto the rowing machine.

Supporting warm up content and tips can be found here and here.


3. Sequence your stroke

Improving your technique by practicing the correct drive and recovery sequence is a sure-fire way to boost your power output.

Starting from a tall, strong finish position allow the arms to extend first towards the fly wheel. Then reach with the body by rocking over at the hips and then breaking the knees, compressing with control all the way to the catch.

For the drive phase repeat this sequence in reverse by pushing the legs first then swing the body back and draw the arms to finish the stroke.

4. Consistency is gold – Row with rhythm

Rowing is a cyclical movement pattern so being able to generate a strong and repeatable rhythm by linking your strokes together better will help you to maintain your power more consistently stroke to stroke and for longer durations.

Try to minimise the variability in your power output from one stroke to another even if you need to start a bit easier than you think initially. Your improved consistency will help you to create a stronger rhythm and more efficiency, providing higher average power outputs over the duration of your sessions.


5. Mix it up

Be creative with your workouts and challenge yourself to complete a variety of sessions.

Some sessions can be longer and more continuous, with a lower stroke rate. This will help you to work on your sequence, rhythm, and aerobic fitness.

Other workouts might be shorter and more intensive, with a higher stroke rate. These hit-outs can include intervals and sprint distances targeting power development and the anaerobic system.

You may prefer particular sessions but incorporating a good balance will assist you to work on all aspects of your rowing and performance.



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