Breathing Techniques

Creating a breathing rhythm can really help your rowing workouts. Ideally, the rhythm of your breath will relate to the rhythm of your stroke.

When rowing at lower intensities, many rowers take one breath per stroke. They add a second, shorter breath as they start rowing harder. The optimal point of when to switch from one to two breaths per stroke is highly personal; experiment to see what works best for you.

Consider Your Stroke Cadence

It’s helpful to coordinate the timing of your breathing with the phases of the stroke. Specifically:

  • During low intensity rowing (one breath)—Exhale gradually on the drive, expelling all remaining air at the finish. Inhale on the recovery.
  • During high intensity rowing (two breaths)—Exhale as you finish the drive. During the recovery, inhale, then exhale quickly. Inhale again just before the catch.

Create a Pattern

The most important consideration is to create a breathing pattern and stick with it throughout your row. This supplies regular oxygen to your muscles so they can function optimally, and it can also help you increase the intensity of your workout…especially on those days when you are less motivated to put in a hard effort.

Man Rowing