This post will focus on the recovery of the rowing stroke. In part one, I discussed sitting on the seat correctly and the pick drill. In this installment, I will focus on the recovery portion of the stroke. I’ll start with an image of the different body positions that form the recovery part of the stroke.
It is very important to perform the recovery of the rowing stroke correctly, as it does a few things.
1) Organizes your body so that you arrive at the start of the drive in the correct position to create as much power as possible on the drive.
2) Allows for you to control your body so that you can conserve energy, control your slide and help create rhythm in your rowing stroke.
3) In the rowing boat, the act of swinging your body about the hip is a great example of Newton’s Third Law of motion, every action as an equal and opposite reaction. In effect, performing the first part of the recovery correctly (getting your upper body set forward early in the recovery) allows for the momentum developed during the drive phase to be conserved and maximized and that helps your boat run between the drive phases more effectively.
As far as learning how to perform the recovery of the rowing stroke correctly, it is my point of view that pause drills are an excellent way to learn the sequence of movement required. They also help create body-awareness and allow you to take the time to move correctly. Finally, taking a pause allows you to slow down (slow is fast!) and helps you develop the correct swing around your hip joint.
The sequence of position one (release position), position two (arms away), and position 3 (arms and body) constituting the first part of the recovery is essential to developing a good stroke. In my opinion, position #3 (arms and body) is the million dollar position in the rowing stroke. Lots of good things happen if this position is established each time on the recovery.
As a result, learning pause drills can help establish this good habit. So here are some videos to help you learn this.
Learning to pause at the release (position #1), arms away (position #2) and arms and body (position #3) are the major parts of learning how to sequence your body as you begin the next recovery motion. As a result, it is helpful to practice these positions in sequence.
It’s helpful to pause at the release each stroke as you start to learn the recovery sequence. This pause helps you ensure that you are prying the end of the stroke well. It’s important to finish each stroke correctly before you think about the next one. You can also check that you are leaning back to the 11 o’ clock position and maintaining a strong position with the lower back. We also want to keep the elbows out a little (not too wide, but not too narrow and allow your chest bone to lift and ensure you are supporting your lower back with good posture through the core. This will allow you to swing around the hip as you start the recovery.
You can also do a two part pause. This drill involves first pausing at the release position, and then pausing at the arms and body position. Once the arms and body position pause has been reached, finish the rest of the recovery. Then, take a stroke and pause once more at the release position. You can repeat this drill for a minute. Following this, row for 4 minutes integrating this drill into the whole rowing motion. Drills are helpful, but we must endeavor to apply them into the whole motion of the stroke. As a result, the skills learned in the drills transfer effectively.
It is important to keep the organic whole in mind as you learn the different positions. Breaking the stroke down into it’s components is helpful. However, we are aiming to put all of these parts together and create a seamless movement that provides the greatest efficiency and application.
The final drill that I have found helpful when I am teaching beginners how to row is the one stroke arms and body and one full stroke. The idea is to alternate between an arms and body stroke and then a full stroke. This helps to reinforce the body swing into the whole organic motion of the stroke.
In conclusion, I hope this piece of learning the recovery portion of the stroke is helpful. In part three of this series on learn to row, I will discuss the beginning of the drive and then explore my preference on the sequence of motion (style) most effective to creating effective force application.
Until next time!