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How to Get Leg Power as a Novice

Really helpful article to read on Grip. I’m a beginner and struggling to feel the connection at the … read more

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Really helpful article to read on Grip. I’m a beginner and struggling to feel the connection at the start of the drive with my legs, meaning my arms do all the work rather than my legs. This leaves me exhausted after 30 minutes or so. I also find I struggle to tap down at the end of the stroke as my tummy and top the legs are in the way. Any suggestions to help with this as I definitely feel like I am pulling the blades rather than pushing them. Thanks

The short answer on how to get leg power for rowing as a novice is: practice, practice, practice.

Junior girls sculling a double - Doing drills Junior girls sculling a double – Doing drills

The longer answer about what you can do is this:

  • For feeling the connection at the start of the drive – get your oars re-geared so you have less in-board. That means shortening the distance from the handle to the button (which rests in the oarlock). This increase in gearing will help you to feel the pressure closer to the blade entry at the catch. I suggest 1 cm harder gearing to begin with.
  • The second suggestion to feel with the legs is to row with straight arms as a drill exercise. Try 20 strokes like this and then 20 strokes normal rowing. Practice keeping your grip light on the handle while you do it.  Here is the description of the full exercise in “Exercises and Drills for Rowing – Legs and Back only Rowing”.
  • Thirdly, the tapping down sounds like your foot stretcher is not adjusted correctly to give you enough room at the finish – ask your coach to check your set-up.
  • When you get more skillful – tell your coach about this one “Slide Progression from Front Stops”. It’s harder to do but will also help you feel pressure on the water at the catch.

Did anyone get other suggestions on how to get leg power for rowing as a novice?

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe
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