Rhythm in the rowing stroke

Sara Handershot Lombardi

Sara Lombardi from Rowfficient writes

While a bit controversial, we do believe in ONE most efficient rhythm to achieve maximum speed and efficiency based on the biomechanics of the rowing stroke. The @kiwi_eight are doing a great job of displaying our ideal “One stroke at a time” rhythm, also known by many as a “gather at the finish” rhythm.

Reasons we love this rhythm rather than a “fast hands away” approach:

  1. When you gather at the finish, you let the boat run out. Moving too quickly out of the finish goes against the speed at which the boat is moving. You just did a bunch of work. Spend a second breathing and admiring it.
  2. A patient finish and a smooth recovery allows your hip hinge to initiate the recovery and gives you the ability to turn off your hamstrings up the slide. Instead of depending on your hip flexors and hamstrings do artificially “pull” you up to the catch, your hip hinge and the boat moving underneath you allow for maintained connection to the footplate and a passive recovery. Fast hands and a slow slide = you putting the brakes on the speed of the boat, and this is why your hamstrings/butt start to burn.
  3. Once the athlete has a handle on blade placement, this rhythm allows for a more direct catch. Time at the catch doesn’t promote more accurate blade placement. Instead it gives extra time for error, like skying blades. Instead focus on a no pause “up and in” catch.
  4. It’s much more efficient to increase the stroke rate from this rhythm. When you’ve engrained this rhythm, you will have to raise rate by adding power on the drive and allowing your seat to travel up to the catch at the speed the boat is moving. Therefore more power = faster slide recovery. It’s incredibly hard to raise the rate effectively if you’re rowing a fast hands rhythm.

Additional Resources from Rowperfect

4 thoughts on “Rhythm in the rowing stroke

  1. Henry Law says:

    > Instead of depending on your hip flexors and hamstrings do artificially
    > “pull” you up to the catch, your hip hinge and the boat moving underneath
    > you allow for maintained connection to the footplate and a passive recovery.

    Something has to pull you along the slide; it’s not going to happen on its own. The idea that the boat runs underneath you while you passively sit there is completely contrary to Newton’s laws of motion.

  2. Paul Ipolito says:

    Dear Lord- before I leave this mortal coil, this vale of tears- I beseech you, please, please let me experience one-just one! row as depicted in the video. What do you think Lord? Can we work something out? I don’t think asking for one smooth row is asking too much. Thoughts? And if it is not too much to ask, can you please get back to me prior to the weekend? Thanks.

    • Rebecca Caroe says:

      Paul – I will apply to the Vatican Rowing Club to get you some special attention from the Almighty…. don’t leave Earth just yet.

      • Paul Ipolito says:

        Rebecca- Thanks! Could you also see about a VRC t-shirt if it’s not too much bother? Is it also true the VRC just walk out to their boats? I have heard they can launch from any point on the water.

        Cheers!

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