Rowing Technique: Should you tap down at the finish on the erg?


We got a question from a reader:

Karen writes

“On a rowing machine, should you tap down at the finish or not? We have been having much debate at our rowing club!!!

You appear to get better times if you don’t, but its not technically correct if you are a rower..”

What do you think Karen’s club should do?

Join the discussion on Rowperfect ‘s Facebook page where we first posted her question

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Al Moir

    It all depends what you are trying to do. If the objective is to grind the “perfect” rowing stroke into the oarsman’s brain, then tapping down at the finish and lifting at the catch are essential. On the other hand, if the objective is to maximise the score and little to do with rowing on water, then both are a waste of time and effort. Me, I go for good technique every time.

  2. Ben Rodford

    If your goal is to maximise on-water performance is all of your training designed to develop on-water speed and technique? The ergo is a physiological tool and a rowing simulator, but in which aspect do you place more value? It is generally accepted that you can get a ‘big score’ on an ergo using technique which would not be most efficient in the boat (big layback and over-reaching to increase length, lifting the knees early and rocking over late to increase rating). Does this degrade technical work done in the boat? Is there any value in training your body to take two different strokes; ‘boat technique’ and ‘ergo technique’? The debate is really: are programmes which promote inefficient boat technique in search of big ergo scores counter-productive?

  3. Bob Hurley

    I have always thought of the erg as a teaching tool. You teach proper technique here and transfer it to the boat. I had the privelege of taking the adaptive 2x to London this past year. Every time they used the erg they practiced as if they were (in thier heads) in a race so technique and timming was very important to them.The fast times showed in the boat. One of the athletes had only rowed less then one year and won a bronze medal
    Also I have found in the past teaching to tap down at the finish on the machine reinforces tapping down with the forarm and not dumping the wrist at the finish.

  4. Rebecca Caroe Rowperfect

    Bob, that’s a very important point – your role as a coach to reinforce the training and technique ethic in your athletes at every session.
    Impressive result.
    Are they still rowing?

    1. Bob

      Yes they are still rowing. Oksana is taking some time off to try out for the parolympic bi athelon team this winter. They will be back on the water in the spring together again.

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