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IMG_3957When’s the last time you went for a row on the water or in the gym?  When’s the last time you warmed up for rowing?  When’s the last time you used Rowing as a warmup for something else?  For many of you rowing is either your main sport or a foundational training tool that you use to get in wicked good shape.  Regardless, anytime you pick up that handle you should be rowing with purpose and taking deliberate strokes.  So how do we develop purpose and deliberate practice?  A good place to start is the Reverse Pic Drill.

Every time I prescribe a rowing warmup I usually kick things off with the Reverse Pic Drill.  It’s a drill that includes 4 progressions:

Reverse Pic Drill:

1. Half Legs – Taking short strokes at the front end using the first 3 inches of the leg drive.

2. Full Legs – Slightly longer strokes pushing the legs all the way down.

3. Legs and Bodies – Longer strokes adding in the swing of the body.

4. Full Strokes – Full length strokes with the arms finishing the stroke.

When done well and with awareness this drill allows us to focus on three important skills with regards to rowing:

1. Posture – The Torso should be stacked and strong in a neutral and braced position at all points in time during the stroke.

2. Control – As the seat slides forward toward the catch it maintains a constant speed and does not accelerate into the catch.  With good control you should be able to stop at any point in time during the stroke and be in a strong position.

3. Connection – The hips and the hands move together into and out of the catch as if connected by a cable.  If the hips move, the hands should move the same distance, no more no less.  If you are connected you can also focus on your shoulders.  The hips, hands, and shoulders all move together in the first three inches of the drive.

I believe that if you can learn to do the Reverse Pic Drill correctly in your warm up, you can and will become a better rower.  The key is how you execute each progression and what you focus on.  Above is a video review of an elite rower I’m working with.  This is what the Reverse Pic Drill looks like in a single on the water. Check out what he’s doing well and what you can start to focus on every time you row.

If you’re interested in getting on the water, I will be organizing a sculling group to row out of Community Rowing Inc. in Brighton every Monday and Wednesday evening from 6:30pm – 8pm.  If you can fit that into your schedule I’d love to get you on the water.  We will be starting in May.  Shoot me an email ([email protected]) now and let me know if you’re interested.  I’ll keep you updated and get you setup to join us.

Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments!

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Today we’re taking a look at some of our athletes from the noon class at Our Crew Fitness.  This is a video review that I put together to help them and you develop your stroke and find new areas to improve upon.  I’ll be posting regular video reviews about once a week, usually on Thursdays.  If you’d like feedback on your stroke or would like to see me talk about a certain area of the stroke, please let me know in the comments.  If you’d like to be featured in the weekly Video Review please send me a 5 stroke video via email to

Today’s topic relates to how you sit on the erg and how your feet are connected to the erg.  Are you balanced on your sit bones or falling off them?  How does your point of contact with the seat affect your posture and positioning throughout the stroke?  Are your feet connected to the footboards at all times?  What part of your foot?  These are things to think about and an area where you can make a quick change to see big gains.  Let us know what you think and if you have any questions.

Also, if you’d like to join in the fun in person, Renegade Rowing Classes are held throughout the week. Checkout the schedule and pricing here.  When you’re ready to get after it and have some fun, sign up for a free consultation with Coach Pat here.

Coach-Pat-ScullingHey Crew!

I hope you had a good April 1st yesterday and you’re ready for the warmer months to start taking hold.  This month we’ll be working on a few different gymnastic skills.  When practicing gymnastic skills it helps to know what your current ability is and how you’re going to progress to a higher skill movement.  The video above contains all of the different progressions I have used to improve my Pistol.  Take a look and get excited to master a pistol in addition to other gymnastic movements this month.  If you have any questions or need any help let me know or grab me next time you’re in.

Also, pistols are a good skill to learn if you’d like to scull (aka – row) on the water with me this Summer.  As the weather gets nicer I will be hosting a couple of learn to scull seminars for anyone that’s interested in trying out for the Renegade Rowing Team.  If you’re interested in learning to scull let me know in the comments or send me an email.  I will be sure to keep you in the loop.


Coach Pat

Wed. Night at CFBWhen’s the last time you performed a Deadlift?  When’s the last time you picked something up off the floor?  Yesterday we got a chance to do Deadlifts and Rowing.  I wanted to use my post today to highlight some of the similarities between the two and what I think about when performing both movements.

First things first, anytime you pick something up you should be deadlifting, because that’s what a deadlift is.  It’s the strongest, most efficient, most powerful way to pick something up off the floor.

I believe that if you can learn to hip hinge and deadlift correctly you can and will become a better rower.  The key is how you deadlift and what you focus on.

Take a look at my hip hinge and deadlift above.  What parts of the deadlift can we tie to the rowing stroke?  I always teach the skills of 1. Posture, 2. Control, and 3. Connection whether it’s rowing or weightlifting.

1. Posture – How am I doing at maintaining a solid brace through my torso?  Is there any movement within the vertebrae of the spine?

2. Control – Is the bar traveling in a straight line over the middle of my foot?  Am I in control of my body and the bar? Can I stop at any point in time and be in a strong position?

3. Connection – How am I connected to the bar?  How am I connected to the floor?  Are my hips, hands, and shoulders connected when the bar is below the knee?

After taking a look and answering some of these questions, think about your own rowing stroke.  In the front end of your stroke, from 1/2 slide up to the catch and back, how do your joints move in relation to one another and what does your body angle look like?  Does it stay the same?  When does your body start to swing open?  Do you feel or see any similarities when you deadlift and row back to back?  Can perfecting one movement help improve the other?

Please share your thoughts to comments and checkout for more content on rowing and lifting.

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How’s it going CFB?

I must say it’s been awesome seeing everyone attack these reverse benchmarks like “Narf” and “Reverse Elizabeth”.  Keep throwing down and finding that high intensity.  The results are showing!

Today I wanted to offer up some reading from the Huffington Post:

6 Rowing Machine Mistakes You Might Be Making (And How to Fix Them)

5000m row Baby!

5000m row Baby!

Take a look and think about how you’re rowing in your pre-class warmups.  Are you making any of these mistakes?

If you’d like help or you think there is room for improvement in your rowing, grab me next time you’re in the gym and we’ll get you fixed up.

Have a great day and fingers crossed for more warm weather!

Kate Sherman liked this post

Hey CFB!  I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving and you’re fired up for getting strong this month!  In the spirit of getting stronger individually and as a community, this month I’m hosting a Toy Drive!  What better way to improve ourselves and our community than to show our support for others, especially those serving our country.  Checkout the details below and show your support by donating a toy at class this Saturday or at the CFB Holiday Party Saturday night!

For every unwrapped toy that gets donated and placed in our toy drive box at the front of the gym by the end of classes on Saturday (11:59am), I will do 10 Burpees.  10 Toys = 100 Burpees.  20 Toys = 200 Burpees.  I made you guys do a lot of burpees in the programming last month, so here is your chance to return the favor and show our support!

If you can’t donate your toy by Saturday at 11:59am, no worries.  Please bring your toys to the Holiday Party at Daedalus in Harvard Square from 6pm – 9pm and I’ll bring them back to the gym for you.


Benefitting: Operation Homefront
Powered by: CrossFit Boston and Team Dangerous

Team Dangerous (“TD”) is proud to organize the second annual Toy Drive providing toys to the children of military families during the holiday season. TD is partnering with Operation Homefront to help distribute these toys. Operation Homefront is a charitable organization who provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors. The toy drive gives the fitness community the opportunity to show the world the true meaning of the word community by coming together as one and provide support to the true unsung heroes of this great nation, our military families.

The 2014 Toy Drive dates will run from approximately November 23rd through December 14th when the toys will be distributed to all the well deserving military families.

Goals for 2014:

    • Donation box placement in 35+ locations

    • Locations: Miami, NYC, Long Island NY, CT, NJ, Boston

    • Donations of 900+ Toys

    • Direct reach to 8,500 individuals

Operation Homefront

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photo 1.PNGCongratulations to Ashley S. for taking first in the 18th Annual RPS Power Challenge: Boston last weekend!  Here is a video of her crushing her opening Deadlift at 330 lbs.  She went 6 for 9 on all of her lifts with a total of 775.  In the Back Squat she hit 275 and in the Bench she hit 170.  After this weekends competition she is now in the top ten lifters on the RPS Leader Board.  Well done committing to your training Ashley and keep up the awesome work!  If you guys see her in the gym give her a pound!

For more information and results on the meet checkout

Renegade Rowing Breakfast – Sunday @10:30am!

If you’re interested in joining the Renegade Rowing Club this year we will be starting in a couple of weeks.  Come by the gym this Sunday (10/19/14) at 10:30am to enjoy some coffee, bagels, and stories of years past.  We will be getting everyone fired up about the upcoming Renegade Rowing League and training for the best 2,000m race of your life at the CRASH-B Indoor Rowing World Championship in February!  Please send me an email – [email protected] – if you’re planning on stopping by or if you’d like to join us this year.  After breakfast and the info session we will all be heading over to the Charles River to cheer on the crews racing in the Head of the Charles Regatta!

Hope to see you all Sunday!


BC Men Spinning at the Canoe Kayak Dock - close to the finish line of the HOCR

Hey CFB!  Great work on those rowing intervals on Tuesday.  Everyone really got after it and the form is definitely coming along.  Keep it up!  Speaking of rowing…

Life get’s crazy, especially this time of year as we gear up for fall parties and the holidays – CFB Halloween Party Anyone?  In the Rowing World, the Head of the Charles is known to rowers as Rowing Christmas.  Every year on the third weekend of October, rowers past and present gather to remember the good old days and push themselves to the limit against the best in the world.  If you can get outside today, go for a walk along the Charles River.  You will more than likely see other random people both tall and small looking at the bridges and turns scouting their line for race day.  Keep an eye out for coaching launches filled with coxswains doing the same thing from the water.  The biggest regatta in the world is just over a week away.  Time to get excited!

Bob and Coach Pat at CRASH-B 2014If you’re interested in checking out the Head of the Charles next weekend, October 18-19, I’ll be cheering on our very own Bob E. around 9am on Saturday morning from the Western Ave. Bridge.  He’ll be racing in a single for the first time and I can’t wait to see him get after it.  On sunday you can also check out the Boston College Men’s Crew Team who I’ve been training with Renegade Rowing.  Either way it should be an amazing weekend with lots of fun activities, so get outside and drink it in!  Here’s a spectator’s guide if you’d like more info.

Never seen the Head of the Charles Regatta before?  Try the following today!  Take 15 minutes today to stop.  Breathe.  And go for a walk.  Watch some rowing.  How does the boat move in relation to the body?  What part of the stroke does the boat move the fastest?  How’s the form look compared to your erging on Tuesday?

Box Squats w/ BC Men's Rowing

Box Squats w/ BC Men’s Rowing

If you’re lucky enough to do this please share your thoughts, where you were, and what you saw!

Hey CFB!

Hope you’re having an awesome week of training!  Here’s my second video blog on the Level II Pistol Programming.  If you have any questions please post to comments or catch me in the gym. 

Be sure to scale appropriately for your ability and master whatever level of the program you are on.  If you don’t know you’re ability or what it means to master each movement, come find me and I’ll help you out.

Have a great end of the week!

Coach Pat

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Howdy CFB!

Hope you’re pumped up for Friday and the weekend!  Here is a little video blog I put together to explain the Level I Programming for the Pistol Work you should be doing on Thursdays after class.  If you have any questions or would like some help figuring out the program please get in touch and we’ll get you set up.

Have a great weekend!

Coach Pat