Quick Fixes to Improve Rowing

By Brian MacKenzie

In CrossFit Endurance, Rowing, Videos

February 10, 2012

Video Article

In this video, CrossFit Endurance founder Brian MacKenzie works on rowing with Rich Airey of CrossFit Counter Culture.

Airey is rounding his shoulders and back, MacKenzie notes.

“What we’ve got here is one broken dude,” he says. “And he doesn’t have to be.”

For a quick fix, MacKenzie takes Airey’s feet out of the straps, sets the damper to 1 and prohibits him from touching the seat to the back of his feet—all while maintaining the integrity of his spine.

“He’s going to have to turn that hip over in order to come forward,” Mackenzie explains. “What it’s teaching me is how to use this machine—or use my body with this machine—right. I’m trying to find where the most powerful position is.”

Airey says he begins to feel the stretch in his hips, rather than his quads as he did before.

MacKenzie then has Airey do multiple reps of body-weight deadlifts at 135 lb. On the final reps, Airey begins to slightly round his shoulders and back. He should move just as he did on the rower, MacKenzie says.

“You’re making a much more symmetrical athlete.”

Video by Again Faster.

9min 59sec

Additional reading: Smoother Rowing for More Power by Tom Bohrer, published April 1, 2008.

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7 Comments on “Quick Fixes to Improve Rowing”


wrote …

That was great! Thanks


wrote …

The only thing is doesn't his hip need to move with his body instead of ahead of the body? (shoots back on the drive)


wrote …

Now take the pause out of the finish, you will get so much more out of the stroke. Just like any lift going from ground to rack or over head, touch and go (finish or catch).


wrote …

He's shooting the slide and losing lots of power in his stroke.


wrote …

Good stuff!


Jan van Delden wrote …

The C2 rower has some slack at the catch. If you hit the footstretcher to hard, you will shoot the seat, and a peak force at the catch is the result (which is undesirable). The lower back is getting a pounding if you do that.
Brian's own rowing is ok at the catch. To avoid spilling force from hips and legs, you should pull a little from shoulders and arms as well, together with a little hip and leg movement. Catch, and then accelarate as fast as possible, no peak forces.
In the finish you should open the hip a little bit further, to support the last part of the pull with the arms. Last part of the stroke is not quickly, it takes time and just a some force. It is about accelaration until the end of the stroke. Pull to hard? The effort and energy goes into elasticity/deformation of the body, instead of speed.


wrote …

I love this drill! I couple this alongside my 5min -20s/pm and my distance through power has come on massively ! Thanks guys ;) x

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