Strength Training For Rowing – Is It Worth It?

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This post contains a video explaining why strength training can be helpful for rowing. Strength training takes a number of different forms and does not necessarily mean performing Olympic lifts.

In the video, I take a look at the mathematical relationship behind drag on the boat and force application needed to maintain boat speed.

It is important to remember to consult with a professional before embarking on any strength training regime. The decision to include strength training in a rowing program should be made after reviewing a multitude of factors including time, the number of sessions per week, access to equipment, what experience level your rowers are etc.

With all of this said, I remain convinced that technical application (connection and hang) are the most important things to focus on before any kind of strength training is considered. You can go a long way with a volume of aerobic conditioning and teach your athletes to row properly. Strength training does provide your program with some variety and this can help with conditioning, athlete engagement and break up the mileage (aerobic base) ergometer training that can be tough on athletes (especially younger ones). 

At the end of the day, there is still no substitute for getting your athletes out in the boat.

Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments.


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  1. Good stuff! I can’t count how many times I have had to remind an athlete that if they want to improve something, whether it is on the shell, in the pool or on the field, that it has to start by training that particular movement.

    While strength training has a place, it shouldn’t compromise the sport-specific stuff. Recently a strength coach friend put together a strength training routine for high school aged male rowers that focuses on developing explosive power for rowers:

    • Coach B says:

      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate the feedback. I’ll check out your link! Let me know if there is something you would like to see on the site. Best, Neil.

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