How anybody can make you row faster in only 30 minutes? What is the secret?
Focus on 2 key things
There are two things that make you go faster at any given rate and both are related to your power curve or power application.
We all should know that the only thing that makes the boat go faster is the blade pushing against some water and levering yourself against the footplate in the boat.
OK let’s check what I said again here. The blade goes into the water at the catch and then through your grip and hands you lever it through the pin you are pushing some solid water against the blade. Here we have the first LEVER that is the PIN. The second LEVER or FULCRUM is the body. This lever will be the lower back and will lever your feet pushing the footplate, boat against the hands holding the oar.
OK let’s review that.
We have 2 levers here the one you will generate using your body as a lever, feet against hands getting the lower back to fulcrum and the one that the pin will do with the blade pushing water against the handle.
OK now that we know ONLY the blade pushes the boat.
How to go faster
Two things that make your blade work hard every stroke to generate more speed:
- A longer length of stroke, meaning having the blade in the water doing a longer sector/arc or a longer stroke.
- A blade that is more connected to the water, meaning that the blade will hold the water better. That will be achieved by the combination of better use of my levers and a better feel for the water.
Here’s how to set up your session
Get the rower to sit on the RP3 rowing machine and row for 5 minutes.
After that position the rower’s body better by explaining posture and showing him “hands on” moving him to change his body position and posture. Mostly this is getting the catch posture strong [shins vertical, strong core, straight back and arms not over-exended] and ensuring the rock-over at the finish brings the shoulders forward of the hips early in the recovery.
On the screen of the computer software set it to show:
- The power curve,
- Length of the stroke
- Joules per stroke.
Now set him off again at a heavier drag factor (K) rowing at 16-18 strokes per minute. This gives an easier feel for the flywheel. A heavier drag slows the wheel down and gives more time for the rower to make changes and see the impact on the power and stroke length numbers.
Let him row on for 5 to 10 minutes. Observe the rower.
If he does a good, long stroke and a good curve, tell him [you could set it as a reference curve on the software].
When they see all this data most athletes start making changes to their stroke by themselves, without your intervention. Using the direct feedback s/he starts realising what movements help get more work per stroke watching the Joules x stroke data.
That will be a longer stroke and a more powerful stroke. Obviously the more powerful stroke will be only delivered if the fulcrums or levers are fully working and connected. This is where your coaching skill is needed. Joules x stroke is the number that represents the area inside or under the curve.
So that’s 10-15 minutes rowing indoors.
The second part of the lesson
After the rower learns how to position himself, get more length out of each stroke, more connection and more power, take him onto the water and ask him to repeat the same movements in the boat. Ask him to look for the same feel of load and acceleration. The amazing thing is that the rower can really take the feel of the objective changes from the land to the water and actually make some changes for the better.
What you should coach
Here are some key elements that will help you to get a better length of stroke and connection to the water:
- Good hang on the lats with extended arms if possible.
- Good body posture sitting up especially on the recovery after rock-over and at the catch
- Good hip rotation
- Good timing at the catch to load the blade before the legs go down.
Try it, please let us know how you get on.