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The 10 Best Strength Training Exercises for Rowing

We’re keeping it simple this winter and focusing on what I’ve culled down to the most effective 10 strength training exercises for rowing. These exercises are a mix of rowing performance exercises, included to increase strength in muscles used heavily in the stroke to drop time off splits, as well as exercises for injury prevention and overall muscular balance and health. Check out the playlist with video demonstrations and coaching cues here and then read on for explanations.

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A Coach’s Guide to Inclusivity

In part one last week, we covered person-first language, took a detailed look at what it means to truly be inclusive, and evaluated the differences (or lack thereof) in characteristics of athletes with and without disabilities. In part two, we’ll use the critical theory to look at how sport reflects society for people with disabilities, the concept of social settings to check the message your program is sending to people with disabilities, and wrap things up with an action plan for coaches.

Sport as a Model of Society

Especially in an Olympic year, we constantly hear about the values of sport in society. Sports build character, sports teach life lessons, sports teach the value of hard work, team work, self-confidence, and so on. There is no doubt that sport can be a powerful way to do all of these things, but only when done with the goal of doing so. Just like playing a team-building game on the first day of practice doesn’t automatically build a rock-solid team with no further effort, the messages you want to send and the lessons you want to teach with sport need to be consistently evaluated and reinforced to be effective.

One way that we can evaluate sports in society is with the Critical Theory. This is one of five main sociological theories that has guided sociological research for the last fifty years, and focuses on the power dynamics present in a given environment [3]. Someone using critical theory will see sport is an area where culture and social relations can be produced and changed. History has proven that this is the case in sport, from race relations to gender IMG_6575(1)stereotypes, and hopefully now to disability. Main questions to ask of your program from a critical theory perspective include:

  • How do people without disabilities interact with, influence, and make decisions for those with disabilities?
  • How is power shared between individuals with and without disabilities? What is the balance of competitive opportunities, resources, equipment, coaching, and more?

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Hip Health for Athletes

There are a number of chronic and acute pains and injuries in sports that result from a problem in the hips.

hip

[Source: boneandspine.com]

The hip girdle is quite complex, with its four directions of motion and dozens of muscles inserting, attaching, and acting on the various structures. However, don’t get bogged down in complex analyses of each individual muscle and joint. There are a few common practices that most athletes would benefit from in their training to enjoy happy and healthy hips for a long career and great performances.

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Mastering the Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is a key basic athletic movement that must be mastered to perform many strength training exercises in the weight-room. Squat, deadlift, push press, and Olympic lift variations are all highly reliant on this fundamental ability, plus, a rock-solid hip hinge has numerous benefits to whatever sport you play. The hip hinge is the basis of the fundamental athletic position. Building strength and endurance of the back, glute, hamstring, quad, and calf muscles involved in hip hinging will make you powerful in many elements of your game.

What is the hip hinge?

The hip hinge is the movement of pushing the hips back, maintaining a neutral spine and no more than a slight bend of the knees, balancing bodyweight between forefoot and heel. This is the power position and is a part of almost every sport–NFL combine athletes hit this position when testing their vertical jump, baseball players prepare for a ground ball in this position, sports like football, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer play defense from this position, volleyball players bump from a hip hinge, tennis players serve return from the hinge, Olympic lifters hang clean from this position, and finally, this is the deadlift position. The hip hinge is the point of optimal strength of the main muscles of the lower body: calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.


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Mastering the Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is a key basic athletic movement that must be mastered to perform many strength training exercises in the weight-room. Squat, deadlift, push press, and Olympic lift variations are all highly reliant on this fundamental ability, plus, a rock-solid hip hinge has numerous benefits to whatever sport you play. The hip hinge is the basis of the fundamental athletic position. Building strength and endurance of the back, glute, hamstring, quad, and calf muscles involved in hip hinging will make you powerful in many elements of your game.

What is the hip hinge?

The hip hinge is the movement of pushing the hips back, maintaining a neutral spine and no more than a slight bend of the knees, balancing bodyweight between forefoot and heel. This is the power position and is a part of almost every sport–NFL combine athletes hit this position when testing their vertical jump, baseball players prepare for a ground ball in this position, sports like football, basketball, lacrosse, and soccer play defense from this position, volleyball players bump from a hip hinge, tennis players serve return from the hinge, Olympic lifters hang clean from this position, and finally, this is the deadlift position. The hip hinge is the point of optimal strength of the main muscles of the lower body: calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.


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FAQ: Deadlifts for Rowing

The deadlift is a lift that has the potential to have excellent utility and carryover to rowing. I emphasize potential because many rowers perform the lift with the goal in mind of lifting the absolute most weight or reps that they can, rather than the goal of becoming a better rower. Training for rowing always comes back to this question—am I using this activity correctly to become a better rower? In many cases, lifting the absolute most that you can is NOT actually making you a better rower.

The biggest mistake I see with rowers’ deadlifts is turning the lift into a pull with the back rather than a push from the legs and hips. Performed correctly, the deadlift should look almost identical to a half-slide stroke. Rowers tend to incorrectly set up at the bottom of the lift, often turning the lift into a squat or a stiff-leg pull or failing to maintain a braced torso and neutral spine. Check out my video below from How to Deadlift then read on for more deadlift FAQs for rowing.

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FAQ: Deadlifts for Rowing

The deadlift is a lift that has the potential to have excellent utility and carryover to rowing. I emphasize potential because many rowers perform the lift with the goal in mind of lifting the absolute most weight or reps that they can, rather than the goal of becoming a better rower. Training for rowing always comes back to this question—am I using this activity correctly to become a better rower? In many cases, lifting the absolute most that you can is NOT actually making you a better rower.

The biggest mistake I see with rowers’ deadlifts is turning the lift into a pull with the back rather than a push from the legs and hips. Performed correctly, the deadlift should look almost identical to a half-slide stroke. Rowers tend to incorrectly set up at the bottom of the lift, often turning the lift into a squat or a stiff-leg pull or failing to maintain a braced torso and neutral spine. Check out my video below from How to Deadlift then read on for more deadlift FAQs for rowing.

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Staying Summer Fit for Rowing

Originally posted as a guest post on Rowperfect UK

It’s summer time and many of us are thinking of time away from the boathouse, ergometer, and spin bike. Often, this is out of our control, such as in the case of the high school student who has a summer job that conflicts with open gym or boathouse times. Sometimes this is in our control, such as a planned vacation or conscious choice to move rowing to the backburner for a few weeks or months and focus on other activities. The competitive athlete will never want to give up an edge to their competition, so while there is no true replacement for time in the boat or on the erg, here is how to stay in as good shape as possible to make smooth the transition back to specific training.

A Rowperfect reader asked, “I’m unable to row for the next month and I can only really use the erg (and for that matter, weights) a few times a week. Other than that, what are good methods for keeping rowing fit?

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5 Reasons You Should Try Rowing

Check out my guest post at TeamSnap for 5 reasons you should give this awesome sport a shot.

https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/five-reasons-your-young-athlete-should-try-rowing

There’s no time like the present! Learn to Row Day is coming up this Saturday with activities all over the world. More info at the links below.

US Rowing / Rowperfect UK

DSC_1867

5 Reasons You Should Try Rowing

Check out my guest post at TeamSnap for 5 reasons you should give this awesome sport a shot.

https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/five-reasons-your-young-athlete-should-try-rowing

There’s no time like the present! Learn to Row Day is coming up this Saturday with activities all over the world. More info at the links below.

US Rowing / Rowperfect UK

DSC_1867