Hello, I am a relatively novice sculler (18 months) and I get blisters only on the left hand. What does that mean? Does it tell something I should stop from doing ? Thanks
Your blisters are a sign of your grip on the oar handle. If you get blisters only on one hand, you’re holding more tightly than in the other hand.
You have two choices
- wait till the blisters have become callouses and live with it
- learn to adjust the grip tightness so you match the other hand
My preference is for 2 but you may find this challenging – one way to relax your hand grip is to wiggle the fingers while you are on the recovery of the stroke… the oars are out of the water, and by “playing the piano” and moving your fingers, you release the grip slightly and start to teach the hands what to do differently.
Also check the placement of the handle in your palm – is it symmetrical between left and right hands? Are your fingers and knuckles identically positioned when the oar is square and feathered? Is your grip shifting during the stroke or not? Rowing blisters are caused by friction and so additional movements will cause more friction and blisters.
Watch this video by my old buddy Charles Barksdale
And check your handle grips against these two photos taken from the video. Can you see on the feather her fingers from the knuckle to first joint are extended at a 45 degree angle from the top of her hand and on the square photo the same part of her hands are almost vertical from the knuckle?
The Grip in Rowing is part of our 6 part series on the Rowing Stroke
Sculling grip on the recovery
Sculling grip in the power phase
The athlete holding the handle shifts her grip between square and feather – this is not ideal [0:37 seconds through to 0:44 seconds].
Let us know how you get on!