When it comes to rowing in CrossFit, there are three common errors: early back opening, early arm break and extreme layback.
When the back opens early in the stroke, much of the hip drive is missing, says Shane Farmer of CrossFit Rowing. The legs and hips should work in harmony, he explains.
“As the legs get close to finishing, then we’re going to kick our hips in to continue momentum and help us finish the stroke,” Farmer says.
He adds that keeping a nice posture is key.
In the early arm break, Farmer gives a shout-out to Olympic weightlifting coach Mike Burgener.
“When the arm bends, the power ends,” Farmer says.
The arms fatigue quickly, he notes, but they don’t need to.
In the extreme layback—think handle pulled all the way to the face—power is lost, Farmer explains.
“We see this at almost every single competition, and I’m here to tell you that is not how you get length in the stroke,” he says.
Get long in the front, he says, while keeping the knees just under the arms, the hamstrings loaded and the back tight.
Video by Again Faster.
Additional reading: Smoother Rowing for More Power by Tom Bohrer, published April 1, 2008.