Rowing 101

Rowing 101

by Kassandra Nevarez, Marketing and Communications Assistant

Rowing is an excellent full-body workout. It is the perfect mix of cardio and strength training, it increases your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and it takes place outdoors and on the water. Further, the rowing stroke can easily be adapted to suit an individual’s physical ability, making rowing a widely accessible sport.

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An important part of learning to row is becoming familiar with the terminology that coaches will use to help you perfect your stroke and keep you safe.

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For your safety

“Hold Water”: “put the brakes on!”; to do this, immediately square the blades in the water

“Weigh-enough”: (pronounced ”way-nuff”) STOP rowing; variations of this term include “let it run” or “easy all”

“Sit-easy”: “relax, you’re not called on to row”; sit with the legs bent halfway up the slide, the oar handle in your hands, resting in a secure place, and the blade flat on top of the water

Parts of the Stroke

The Catch: describes the body position of the compressed legs, perpendicular shins, forward body position, and straight arms when the blade of the oar is about to “catch” the water

The Finish / The Release: describes the body position of the extended legs, leaned back (10°or 15° is good), and pulled-in arms when the blade of the oar has “finished” the stroke

The Drive: the motion of pulling the oar handle with the legs, then back, then arms while the blade is squared within the water; the motion from the catch to the finish

The Recovery: the motion of pushing the oar handle with the arms, then back, then legs while the blade is out of the water; the motion from the finish to the catch

Arms Away: describes the body position on the recovery when the legs are extended, the torso leaned back and the arms straight, away from the body straight, away from the body

Bodies Over: describes the body position when the legs are extended, the torso leaning forward and the arms straight

Half-Slide: describes the body position when the knees are halfway bent, the torso leaning forward and the arm straight

Sides of the boat

Bow: The front of the boat, is behind you when you row

Stern: The back of the boat, is in front of you when you row

Starboard: the right side of the boat when you are rowing; if you are rowing starboard, your right hand is at the end of the oar with your pinky on the end

Port: the left side of the boat when you are rowing; remember, port and left are 4 letters long; if you are rowing port, your left hand is at the end of the oar with your pinky on the end

Technical Terms

Skying: describes the blade of the oar when it is too high above the water on the recovery

Digging: describes the blade of the oar when it is too deep within the water during the drive

Square: describes the blade of the oar when the oar is perpendicular to the water; e.g., the catch is in the squared position

Feather: describes the blade of the oar when it is parallel to the water; e.g., when using the inside hand to gradually roll-up the oar we go from the feather to the square.

Rolling up: describes the oar-blade’s motion going from the feather to the square; done gradually

Finally, always remember: Never let go of your oar