Rowing technique

Fixed seat rowing is quite easy, but good technique makes it even easier, and more fun! Have a look at the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association’s guide to Fixed seat rowing technique and this highly recommended series of short videos.


The main elements of technique

Straight Back
  • Erect but not stiff
  • Swinging from the loins only at the hips and not from any point in the middle of his back as a secondary pivot
  • This eases the respiratory organs by opening the chest cage.
Swing
  • The time occupied coming forward should be the body’s rest
  • An erect head and open chest will enable the heart and lungs to work freely and easily.
  • Any tendency to rush the swing must be checked
  • As the body swings the hands should be stretching and reaching as if striving to touch something which is constantly evading them.
Use of the Arms
  • The arms must be straight when swinging back
  • They should be considered as merely connecting rods between the body and oar
  • The use of the biceps in rowing should be discouraged: finishing the stroke by the aid of the biceps causes the rower to dogear the elbow – sticking it out at right angles to the ribs, giving a weak as well as a cramped and ugly finish
  • It is important that the oar is pulled into the chest and not the chest up to the oar.
  • This latter will shorten the stroke prematurely, and spoil the rhythm of the swing.
Hanging at the Chest
  • The oar must not hang at the chest.
  • The hands must come away quickly, otherwise it will be necessary to rush forward in the swing to make up lost ground.
  • This spoils the swing and taxes the endurance of the rower
Head up, straight back
rowing-posture

(Adapted from SCRA http://scottishcoastalrowing.org/2016/01/11/fixed-seat-rowing-technique/)

This illustration from the 1937 edition of the Admiralty Manual of Seamanship gives as good an illustration on fixed seat rowing technique as any.

abc-how-to-row-900x558

Please note that nowadays we usually row fully clothed.