When starting out with rowing it takes time to 'feel the resistance' , use the information on this page for tips when starting out on your WaterRower.
If you still cannot feel resistance after a few weeks of rowing, try the following tips;
1. Focus on Using Your Legs
Your legs are your biggest muscle group so ensure you use them! Row the Drive Phase in slow motion and really focus on pushing first with the legs. Feel the firm squeeze off the foot board, hold your core strong and complete the stroke with your arms. Count 5 to 10 strokes just thinking about the legs.
2. Focus on Stroke Length
If you are not feeling intensity then often it is due to the rowing stroke being short in length. Ensure you reach as far forwards as comfortable for you, feel the connection the water in the Catch position and complete the Drive Phase by drawing of the handle through to the body. Try to row as long as you can without jeopardizing your posture (i.e. do not reach or leaning back too far). See this video.
3. Watch Your Speed
What is your stroke rate vs speed? Are getting as much speed out of each stroke? If you are rowing comfortably rowing at 28spm try to lower your stroke rate to 26spm and hold the same speed (m/s, m/p, cal/hr etc.)
4. Ratio and Rhythm
This is the most important tip for ‘feeling more resistance’. Focus on taking twice as long to move forwards on the recovery as compared to the drive back. Taking the time to move forwards allows the water to slow down so you can achieve a better connection and work harder on the drive back. See this video.
Improve your Rhythm and Ratio - that is take the time as you slide forwards on the recovery and have a more powerful Drive back.
Also rowing with a longer stroke length - a long stroke length can be achieved with full compression of the legs (that is getting your seat as close to your heels as possible), reaching as far forward with the upper back and arms (at the same time keeping a strong tall posture) and feeling the paddle connect or ‘lock on’ with the water early on in the rowing stroke.
Try this drill - Power Strokes.
This will mean your toes are lifting off the footboard in the Release position. Concentrate on keeping the balls of the feet in contact with the footboard through out the rowing stroke.
Your legs need to be doing the majority of the work - almost 80% of the work done. Keep in mind that rowing is similar to lifting a weight bar off the floor (as when doing a weight lifting clean). At the Catch, you drive first with your legs keeping a strong posture and straight arms.
Try the Catch Drill or Legs Only Rowing Drill.
Leaning back too far occurs when you lean the upper body back past the 1 o'clock position at the Release position. This can result in your toes/feet lifting off the footplate and can place extra pressure on your lower back if your core is weak.
Practice this drill called "feet-out" rowing.
Seat Shoving occurs when the rower drives firmly down with the legs with poor posture and there is little movement in the handle. There is no connection between the arms and legs, leaving the lower back to bring everything together at the end of the stroke and this can lead to soreness and rapid fatigue of the lower back muscles.
See Seat Shoving on how to correct this problem.
Stroke rate is the number of strokes you take in a minute, the lower the stroke rate (14-20spm) the more time you take on the Recovery forwards up the slide. The higher the stroke rate the less time you have to recover.
The ratio remains the same, whatever the stroke rate (1:2 work to recovery).
The S4 monitor allows you to view the ratio of your stroke. Scroll through the Advanced Programs options by pressing the "Advanced" button. When Advance Program 5 is highlighted press OK. The ratio reading is displayed for 2 seconds every 10 seconds in the intensity window. Aim to keep it as close to 1:2 as possible, 1:18 or 1:19 is suitable.
Rowing works and tones all three major muscle groups, the legs, the arms and shoulders and the connecting muscles of the torso, because rowing uses a high number of muscle groups there is a lot of improvement in aerobic capacity (lungs & heart function).
Rowing can also be used to develop strength and anaerobic fitness by high intensity low duration anaerobic workouts.
Rowing, like swimming, cycling or running, should be a smooth flowing action. The WaterRower’s patented WaterFlywheel has been designed to simulate the smooth natural resistance experienced in real rowing, removing the damaging jerkiness and impact of other rowing machines which may cause back injury.
Back injuries are more prevalent in the hyper-extension type sports like gymnastics and golf etc. Often the problem is created due to bad posture. It is important to maintain a strong posture when rowing. By exercising the corset muscles of the torso, rowing will indeed strengthen the back, thus helping to prevent injury.
Only if you intend to compete in the next Olympics! But like all naturally performed aerobic exercises, rowing can be as strenuous as you want it to be. It may require no more effort than a gentle walk or as much as an Olympic regatta.
The correct way to increase stroke rate is to quicken the hands away during the rock over phase and a more powerful drive back during the drive phase. It is important to use this correct way to build the stroke rate. A good technique rower can not increase their stroke rate from 20spm up to 32spm in 1 or 2 strokes, it usually takes around 10 strokes to reach 32spm.
A common fault when trying to increase stroke rate is to shorten the length of the stroke. This will result in rowing fast up and down the slide but 'getting nowhere'. This will also make it easier for the user and hence will not get the maximum benefit out of rowing.
It is important to remember that a higher stroke rate does not necessarily mean a higher intensity – to increase intensity you need to maintain a long stroke length and increase the drive back during the drive phase. See Power Strokes
The information given is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice WaterRower accepts no responsibility for any injury caused by the information presented here. Please consult a physician before starting an exercise program.