Roundtable Recap: Deadlift for Rowers

We changed up the format a bit for this episode and spent the whole time just talking about one lift. If there’s only one lift you can do for rowing, we could make an argument for the deadlift. It’s an awesome lift with a ton of carryover to rowing, both for performance, reinforcing technical cues and coaching, and long-term back health. In this episode, we give some backstory on the deadlift, why it’s such a great lift for rowing, our progression for teaching it to new lifters, variations on the deadlift that we use in our training, and of course, how to actually train it with sets, reps, and intensities for in-season and off-season.

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0:00 — Brief update and news from our coaching and learning

3:15 — Overview of the deadlift and why it’s beneficial for rowing

16:25 — Teaching progression for the deadliftRowingStrength Trap Bar

25:21 — The Great Bracing Debate

34:10 — Deadlift variations for rowing trainingshear force

39:37 — Training the deadlift in-season and off-season (periodization)

50:40 — Final notes on the deadlift

  • “Strength reserve is the difference between maximum strength and the strength required to perform a skill under competitive conditions. For example, one study using strength-gauged techniques measured rowers’ mean force per stroke during a race, which was 123 pounds (Bompa, Hebbelinck, and Van Gheluwe 1978). The same subjects were found to have absolute strength in power clean lifts of 198 pounds. Subtracting the mean strength per race (123 pounds) from absolute strength (198 pounds) indicates a strength reserve of 75 pounds. In other words, the ratio of mean strength to absolute strength is about 1 to 1.6. Other subjects in the same study were found to have a higher strength reserve and a ratio of 1 to 1.85. Needless to say, these subjects performed better in rowing races, which supports the conclusion that an athlete with a higher strength reserve is capable of performing at a higher level. Therefore, a strength and conditioning coach should aim to help athletes reach the highest possible level of maximum strength during the weekly time devoted to strength training in a rational ratio with more sport-specific sessions, in order to prevent a negative transfer”. 
    • Bompa T., Hebbelinck, M. and Van Gheluwe, B. 1978. A biomechanical analysis of the rowing stroke employing two different oar grips. The XXI World Congress in Sports Medicine, Brasilia, Brazil.
  • Will: FAQs on deadlifting for rowing
  • “There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift!”

Questions, Comments, Feedback? We’d love to hear from you.

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