18 Dec 2013
Performing an appropriate warmup for the workout that is set out each day can make or break a performance. Below is the warmup we use fairly consistently in classes at CrossFit Boston and at the Renegade Rowing Club. It’s a good 10min warmup to focus on control, connection, and recovering to strength. Checkout how slow the Renegade Rowing Club approaches the catch in the beginning. Executing this drill with control will allow you to really focus on putting technique changes into effect and hitting that catch with good timing and connection.
Please share what you do for a warmup when rowing is involved in the workout. What is your focus?
Renegade Rowing Club Warmup:
1min – 1/2 Legs Only
1min – Full Legs Only
1min – Legs and Body Only
1min – Full Stroke
1min – Pause @1/2 Slide Every Stroke
5min – 10 Strokes On/ 10 Strokes Off, 15 On/15 Off, 20 On/20 Off
11 Dec 2013
From time to time it can be beneficial to look at yourself on camera. No we don’t care about the aesthetics or the fashion. We’re looking to gain feedback and a mental picture. We’re looking for just one or two cues that might give us a smoother, more powerful stroke. What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What can we do better?
You should be asking yourself, “What do I look like now? How do I move now? What could use some extra focus and improvement next time?” Don’t dwell on to many things at a time, just find one or two things that might make your life on the erg or in the boat a little better. Go work on them. Then reassess in a couple of weeks.
The Renegade Rowing Club has agreed to help everyone by taking a look at their strokes. If you’d like feedback similar to this, post a 20 second clip of you rowing to YouTube and share it with us in the comments of this post. I’ll do my best to give you a couple of things to work on!
For each of the following videos I’ll be ranking each rower on their posture, control, and connection. I’ll use a five point scale where 1 = poor and 5 = perfect. When dealing with posture we’re looking for the torso to be stacked and strong at all times. When talking about control we are looking at the smoothness of the recovery and how the seat moves toward the catch. Does it rush forward for the next stroke? Is there control in the last few inches of the slide to change direction without pushing the boat backwards? Last and most important, connection, are the seat and handle connected and moving together into and out of the catch as if connected by a belt.
Take a look and share what you might focus on next time you row!
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the body over. Don’t let the seat stop at the catch. Be ready to push with the legs the second you hit the catch and keep the seat and hands connected.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 4 – video
Feedback: Nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the handle pause at the finish. Focus on quicker hands away as if there were opposing magnets on the handle and your chest trying to push those hands away out of the finish.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Great posture and nice job getting the body over. Try not to be so rigid and don’t break the elbows as you initiate the drive. Relax a little on the recovery and make everything smooth.
Posture: 3, Control: 2, Connection: 3 – video
Feedback: Nice job getting the arms extended and ready for the catch. Try to not be so robotic and rigid at the finish. Focus on quick and smooth hands away. The handle should always be moving.
Posture: 4, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Good posture and nice horizontal hands. Don’t let the shoulders and torso reach for more at the catch. Focus on staying connected as you approach the catch. See if you can get the body over and find that reach earlier in the recovery, before you get to half slide.
Posture: 3, Control: 4, Connection: 2 – video
Feedback: Great work getting your body over on the recovery and getting prepared by half slide. Don’t let your posture go as you approach the catch. Focus on bringing the handle with you as you push the knees down. The first inch or two of the drive you are shooting the slide, so keep a big chest and solid abs/back as you push.
Posture: 3, Control: 3, Connection: 2 – video
Nice power and push on the drive. Try to keep your hands on one level plain and don’t let them drop coming into the catch. Focus on pointing the toes as you finish and then getting the proper sequence of arms away first, bodies over, and then knees come up during the recovery. Everything blends, but that’s the order of firing in terms of sequence.
Olympic Lifting and Rowing?
What do you think about using Olympic Lifting in training to be a Rower or using Rowing to be a better Olympic Lifter? Both require speed and power and incorporate similar movement patterns. However, in rowing you sit down and are in contact with three surfaces. In Olympic Lifting you are only in contact with two. In Olympic lifting the goal is to transfer forces vertically and in rowing the goal is to transfer forces horizontally. Where do you see the most benefit in training with both? Are there downfalls?
One skill, concept, and idea that I keep coming back to is Connection. Coaching people in the gym and on the water allows me to see many different movement patterns and levels of ability.
Athletes that grasp this idea of connection from one joint to another and one external object to another are able to learn faster, create more power, and transfer skills to other movements. Learning to connect the hips to the hands as you initiate a movement or connect your feet to your hands at the catch, both in rowing and snatching, is invaluable. Once this skill is perfected the possibilities are endless.
Yesterday morning I introduced the snatch to the BC Men’s Crew Team. While we only worked with PVC pipes to begin with and 45# bars in the workout, the importance of generating speed through the middle of the drive and being turned on at the catch became apparent. Those that had explosive hip extension from rowing and knew how to create speed on the oar through the middle of the drive in the boat had a lot more success transferring that skill to the barbell.
Using the Clean and the Snatch to generate speed on the drive through good connection is a lot of fun. Rowers become athletes and are empowered to push harder by learning new movements and finding power they never knew they had. It’s also a lot of fun seeing olympic lifters and other athletes learn to row because it helps them to find more connection and speed in their lifts.
Post your thoughts to comments! Any experience transferring skills from one sport to another?
16 Sep 2013
Horizontal Pulling. Hearing this, many of us think of ring rows and correlate this movement as a “bad” thing or a scale for pull-ups. First of all, it is DEFINITELY not a “bad” thing. It is a “tough” thing. It’s an appropriate scale for those of us who cannot hang from a bar for very long or get pull-ups with a band (which many of you know I can’t stand). But even if you are more than capable of hangin’ from a pull-up bar and bangin’ out 20 reps, you should still add in some horizontal pulling to your routine. If ring rows are easy for you to get, try doing strict ring rows with your feet elevated. Show me 20 good reps of that, and I would say you don’t need to add this into your training routine. My favorite way to add in horizontal pulling is by adding in barbell rows or Pendlay rows (both very similar, but still… a little different). If you don’t have pull-ups yet, this movement will definitely get you a more stable shoulder girdle and on your way to getting those elusive pull-ups in no time.
The following is a link to a video explaining some technique for some horizontal pulling movements. Check it out. Add some in to your week. Get stronger! That’s why you came to us!