How to Row

Rowing is a very natural motion and most people pick it up quickly. Have someone watch you row, comparing your body positions to those shown in the video below. Don't pull too hard until you are comfortable with the technique fundamentals.
This video provides new rowers the information they need to get off to a comfortable and effective start with their rowing. Even if you are an experienced rower, you might learn something new!
Curious about the Concept2 Slides? What are they? How do they work? Why would you want to use them? And most of all, what does it feel like to row on them? Our video addresses these topics and more.
The purpose of this video is to illustrate a number of common rowing technique errors as well as drills that will help you practice good rowing.
Once you feel comfortable with your rowing technique, you'll want to start rowing with greater intensity. This video shows how to row with more power and explains the relationship between power and stroke rate.

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Duration: 5:42 minutes
Proper Rowing Technique
Model E Indoor Rower is shown in video.

The Rowing Stroke

The rowing stroke can be divided into two parts: The drive and the recovery.

You will learn a coordinated movement pattern built upon the following positions and phases:

The Recovery (Phase 1)

  • Extend your arms until they straighten.
  • Lean your upper body forward to the one o'clock position.
  • Once your hands and the oar handle have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.

The Catch (Position 1)

  • Arms are straight; head is neutral; shoulders are level and not hunched.
  • Upper body is at the one o'clock position—shoulders in front of hips.
  • Shins are vertical and not compressed beyond the perpendicular.
  • Balls of the feet are in full contact with the footplate.

The Drive (Phase 2)

  • With straight arms and while maintaining the position of the upper body at one o'clock, exert pressure on the foot plate and begin pushing with your legs.
  • As your legs approach straight, lean the upper body back to the eleven o'clock position and draw the hands back to the lower ribs in a straight line.

The Finish (Position 2)

  • Legs are extended and handle is held lightly at your lower ribs.
  • Upper body is at the eleven o'clock position—slightly reclined with good support from your core muscles.
  • Head is in a neutral position.
  • Neck and shoulders are relaxed, and arms are drawn past the body with flat wrists.

The drive is the work portion of the stroke; the recovery is the rest portion that prepares you for the next drive. The body movements of the recovery are essentially the reverse of the drive. Blend these movements into a smooth continuum to create the rowing stroke.

Concept2 Slides

Set up as a sliding single, the indoor rower moves back and forth under the person rowing, more like rowing on the water. You get a quicker catch and can row at a higher stroke rate, because only the mass of the indoor rower is being moved and not that of the person rowing. You can also use Slides to connect two or more indoor rowers to compel users to row as a team.

For more information, visit the Slides page.