How to get a good drive in rowing
Get strong and flexible! The drive is a complex series of movements under load and the aim is to apply maximum power to the boat. In order to do this an athlete needs flexibility, strength and coordination in order to perform a few go0d strokes and fitness to do it frequently and at high ratings.
There are plenty of land based exercise programmes available to help with flexibility and strength. The Home Exercise routine or another similar callisthenic routine is a basic tool that is highly recommended. A good core stability and strength programme is also vital; we will include some on this site and others are readily available.
A good simulation of the drive sequence is the squat jump. If a group of rowers and scullers is asked to perform a series of good squat jumps there will be an extremely high correlation between those who jump well and those who drive well. If you can’t jump you can’t row.
In particular short or inflexible hamstrings, inflexible ankles, weak and inactive gluteal muscles, weak or unused core, all make good drive or jumping difficult.
The ultimate exercise for preparing rowers and scullers to drive well is the Power Clean. This an Olympic Weightlifting lift. Cleans simulate the rowing action well and are an excellent form of strength training. All top level rowers and scullers should be able to power clean.
The ability to perform a power clean well isn’t something that is acquired over night, the athlete needs a properly structured programme using simpler lifts to prepare the body and learn the skill before attempting the full lift.