FallOut CrossFit – School of Elite Fitness Tri-cities, WA

From the Blog

Row Row Row Your Boat

There is nothing gently about rowing here at FallOut CrossFit. We row hard and fast and it looks like everyone sweat there butts off yesterday! Great work!

Rowing technique

Rowing, like most of the exercises employed by Crossfit, is a compound movement that requires aptitude and competence in each of the ten components of fitness. Rowing is an excellent metcon activity, employing vast amounts of muscle mass and moving it through a wide range of motion. In addition, the movement requires co-ordination, balance, rhythm and synchronisation in order to be effective and efficient. You can be strong and have bad form and get your butt kicked by someone with excellent form.

The fundamentals of the rowing stroke are relatively simple to grasp, but true mastery requires hours of practice and refinement. Rowing technique is critical to producing successful results. It is not an exercise that can just be ‘muscled’ through with grunt work and this is especially true of any distance greater than about 500m. This is because rowing inefficiency quickly exhaust the short-term energy systems (ATP-PC and glycogen). Therefor your 500m capacity is very often a poor predictor of your 2000m capacity.

The Recovery is very important!!

Believe it or not, this portion of the stroke is an opportunity to rest. Contrary to what you might think, it is not a race to get back to the catch as quickly as possible. Elite rowers will spend more than 60% of their time in ‘recovery’ over a 2000m race. Here’s the proof – at a stroke rate of 34 spm (strokes per minute), a world-class rower will execute the drive and finish of a stroke in just .6 seconds, leaving roughly 1.1 seconds before the next stroke is due. That is rest time. Use it.

The recovery is the reverse of all the movements that have gone before it. During the drive it went: legs, back then arms. In the recovery its reversed: arms away, back follows and finally your legs compress. This process should be slow and controlled. You don’t want to be racing back into the catch position. The more ‘reverse’ momentum you generate during the recovery, the greater the load on your quadriceps and glutes when you engage for the drive again at the catch. Try and be slow. If you’re working anywhere near as hard as you should be during the drive, you’ll be thankful for the break here.

Most Common Mistakes

  • Rowing with bent arms or bent wrists
  • Leaning back too much, drawing the handle too high – BAD
  • Shooting the slide
  • Opening the back angle to early
  • Breaking the knees to early on the recovery – BAD
  • Over reaching at the catch
  • Not being relaxed
  • Not maintaining adequate pressure on the foot stretcher
  • A pronounced handle thump at the finish

WOD: Row for time: Must finish in 25 minutes

Level III Level II Level I
5K Row 4K Row 3K Row

Adapted from CrossFit Victoria


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