Strength Coach Roundtable

Tune in to hear rowing strength coaches Will Ruth, Blake Gourley, and Joe Deleo discuss topics in the world of strength training for rowing. With occasional guests, these three dive deep into training topics to discuss how to get the absolute most from your strength training for rowing, whether it’s the best lifts and muscles for more power and endurance for rowing performance, stretches and exercises for mobility and injury prevention, or cutting-edge information about improving carryover from the weight-room to the boat or erg.

What’s the Roundtable all about?

We believe in a rigorous approach to strength training for rowing that takes into thoughtful account each athlete’s age, training ability, competitive needs, individual needs and biomechanics, injury history, and personal motivation. Rowing isn’t powerlifting, bodybuilding, or Crossfit, yet these strength training methodologies are often misapplied as though they are all one and the same. Rowing strength coaches and Rowperfect authors Will, Blake, and Joe take aim at the misinformation out there about strength training for rowing and hope to help YOU find a better, more effective, more sport-specific way to train for a lifetime of rowing performance.

Past Episodes

You can listen to past episodes of the Roundtable on the Rowing Chat Soundcloud, iTunes, or Youtube.

After each episode, we post shownotes and a recap right here on Rowperfect UK. We often refer to exercises, articles, or videos of concepts during the podcast, and this is a helpful way to post demonstrations or links to more information, so make sure to check those out after each episode!

Ep. 14: Core Training, guest Dr. Fiona Wilson

Ep. 13: “Rowing Stronger, Second Edition”

Ep. 12: Preventing Low Back Pain in Rowing

Ep. 11: Movement Assessments for Rowing

Ep. 10: Strength, Physical Therapy, Rowing, guests Karen Calara and Caitlin McClain

Ep. 9: Strength Training for Adaptive Rowers, guest Tara Morgan

Ep. 8: Rib Stress Injuries, guest Karen Calara

Ep. 7: Squatting for Rowers

Ep. 6: Deadlifting for Rowers

Ep. 5: Performance Psychology, guest Sara Hendershot-Lombardi

Ep. 4: Recovery

Ep. 3: Strength Training for Injury Prevention

Ep. 2: Strength Training for Rowing Performance

Ep. 1: Introduction and Overview

About the Coaches

Will Ruth is the author of Rowperfect’s bestselling e-book, “Rowing Stronger: Strength Training to Maximize Rowing Performance.” A former junior rower, Will graduated from Western with a degree in kinesiology with a focus in sport psychology, and was the strength coach of the WWU men’s rowing team from 2013-2019. He holds certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CSCS), USA-Weightlifting (Level 1), and US-Rowing (Level 2), and a master’s degree in sport coaching at the University of Denver (2019). Will moved to Vermont in 2019, and is a guest coach at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

You can find Will’s articles and videos on strength training, mobility, and sport psychology for rowers online at

Blake Gourley brings over a decade of rowing experience to the table. He spent 4 years rowing for LGRC where he was team captain and the fastest rower on the team in 2004. In 2004 Blake was recruited to row for Cal’s undefeated freshman crew. An injury at Cal sidelined his rowing career, but led to his passion for injury reduction in the sport of rowing. Over the course of his coaching career his teams have consistently placed in the top 5 at state championships. Most notably his Freshmen 8+ and Novice A 8+ placed 3rd in the state in 2013, and his Lightweight 8+ placed 5th in the nation in 2012.  Blake has developed a thirst for knowledge and pursues further education whenever possible. Blake continues to further his expertise with internships at locations such as Stanford Sports Performance, and Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning (voted the #1 gym in the USA). Blake attends conferences, seminars, and courses multiple times a year to stay on-top of the latest and greatest performance information.

Blake is the Owner of Movement Evolution Performance Training, Owner of and a board member for the Sports Medicine Certificate at West Valley College. Blake was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Santa Clara Men’s Crew Team from 2014-2016 and former Performance Director of Los Gatos Rowing Club. He has a BA from Cal, a sports medicine certificate from West Valley College, and an MS in sport performance training from Concordia University Chicago.

Joe DeLeo focuses on working with individuals to get stronger, move better, and be injury free. He has a strong passion to help rowers develop these qualities so they can perform their fastest in the rowing shell. He also has tremendous experience rehabbing rowing-related injuries and stresses. He uses a variety of modalities to train his athletes and clients including: bodyweight, kettlebells, the barbell, the mace, and indian clubs. His business, LEO Training, LLC offers online coaching and training plans as well as in-person training. Joe has consulted with US Naval Academy Lightweight Rowing Team and Whitman High School Rowing Team. He has partnered with the Avizaqcua Team Center in Avis, Portugal to bring Olympic rowing experience to the rowing community through camps and seminars.

He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He holds certifications as a Functional Movement Specialist, Rocktape FMT II, and is a Level I Girya with StrongFirst.

You can read his latest articles on his blog at