RowingHack: Resistance training

Tennis ball sliced for boat tie
Tennis ball sliced for boat tie
Tennis ball sliced for boat tie

Loading up your work is a great way to gain strength and skill in a rowing boat.  Having a bungee or rope under the hull gives an easy way to create extra loading on the athletes.  This can be used for all ages of rower and all expertise levels.

The resistance slows down the boat and makes it harder to push the oar through the water.  This has two benefits – the athlete has to work harder to complete a stroke and it also makes the boat more stable so people can improve their technique because they feel the muscles working and can tell if they aren’t being consistent each stroke.

Coaches can use resistance training in many ways – from power strokes (short number of strokes executed multiple times with rest between) to steady UT2 paddling with extra load and also practicing racing starts (useful as the crew learns the stroke lengths you want used).

Ways to add rowing boat resistance

I’ve seen many different ways of adding resistance:

  • Elastic bungee
  • Rope
  • Boat tie
  • Boat tie with one or two twists in the tie
  • Garden hose threaded with rope

But this is the first time I’ve seen a tennis ball used.

Easy to make – just cut a slit into both sides of the ball and thread a boat tie through the holes.

Then adjust the tie under the hull and through the riggers (in front of them – closer to the athlete is best so the tie doesn’t get pulled off the stern during the row).

Of course, the best part of resistance training is when you take the tie off the boat for the last part of the outing…. you go SOOOOO FAST!

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