What Is The Ideal Rowing Stroke? | Concept2

What Is The Ideal Rowing Stroke?

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May 22, 2018

In our minds, we often “see” ideal rowing technique: A fluid motion that initiates the stroke with the legs, engages the back and core, and finishes with the arms. The drive is strong and the recovery is relaxed and long. And yet, why is it that we always seem to find faults with our technique? We are all constantly looking for improvements (or we should be!).

It is difficult to demonstrate “perfect” technique, even when working with the most decorated athletes in the sport. If you watch Olympians, you’ll see many variations in how they row. Different body shapes, sizes, styles and biomechanics guide our actions. If we find the “perfect” stroke, how do we sustain it? What is ideal technique? Can you see it in your mind? Or are we all chasing something unattainable?

Historically, there have always been differences in rowing styles. At the turn of the 20th century, for example, the Belgians introduced a more upright posture than the traditional British style.

The ancient philosopher Plato offers a way for the ideal to be accessible: The Form. Plato argues that it is worth focusing on the ideal version of something (like technique) so that we can aspire to it. This allows us to better understand what we’re striving for and notice deviations from the ideal.

Concept2 provides a "Form" of technique; this is a guide and blueprint to help you. This reference can help you achieve the ideal, whatever that is. Using the model of “what a rowing stroke is” can help you pursue an efficient, powerful stroke. It is less important to achieve the ideal than it is to aspire to it. This aspiration can also help us avoid Common Errors that can be inefficient or lead to injury.

As you learn to row, keep in mind that there are nuances in rowing. There is not necessarily a perfect body angle, a perfect handle height or a perfect rhythm. There are suggestions and recommendations to help you row strongly and avoid injury. The realistic goal is to find a powerful consistent stroke.

Rowing is a lifelong pursuit of the perfect stroke. Concept2 is happy to be part of your journey!

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