When we row we want to go fast. To go faster we need to find ways to save energy so we can be more economic on our movements and use that extra energy we saved to increase speed. So when we say that we are being efficient on our rowing it means that we are using our body properly during the rowing stroke, so the muscles are working as little as possible to get the maximum speed we can.
When rowing is done efficiently it will look like a push and not a pull of the boat. We will hang as much as we can from the biggest bones of our skeleton so we can save energy. We need some muscular activity to support our skeleton and the posture but the more we can do it with the proper muscles and posture the more efficient our rowing will be and the less energy we will need to use to move the boat.
The way to become more efficient and develop better posture is to work on the right rowing coordination, work on doing the right sequence of movements of the rowing stroke.
There is a fine line between rowing efficiency and fitness and power. You can become faster by being more efficient but you need to understand that rowing is a power sport and you only need to race 2000 meters.
So you will need to evaluate how much you need to work on everything to be the fastest you can be. To row fast you need coordinated power to the rowing stroke, also to row fast you need to be efficient to push the boat away and not just hammer the boat without really making the boat go.
So there is a fine line to be determined by the coach on how much weight lifting, rowing coordination and use of the skeleton, hang can be done to achieve the ideal rowing stroke for each one of us.
Another important aspect is the proper nature of the rower. If the athlete is really strong and has a huge muscle mass by nature, he will be able to just work on coordination and row as much as he can so he can shape all his body to the rowing stroke to become the most efficient he can.
If the rower is very efficient and move perfectly with the boat but has not enough power to accelerate the boat or to hang his skeleton, then this he needs to focus on developing this power.
Even if you develop fast speed on your athletes by prioritizing on fitness, power and talent and not invest enough time on the right development of their body to help them develop well, don’t forget that having few sessions a week where the movement gets slowed down and the feedback increased can really help their development, it’s like a savings account, the money will comeback to you!
So seat tall, like thinking that you want to touch something an inch higher above your head without tensing your neck or head but engaging your lower back to help you position with a better form on the boat so you can start rowing a better stroke.
Take a look at these pictures and the video and understand how this amazing rower has the right posture, how he hangs with the activation of the right muscles and how simple and natural it looks.
So when you try to develop posture check that you are relax and not tense, that you are breathing naturally and you can move your body parts naturally and there is no extra tensions on the not key muscles. If your neck, face, arms and grip are tense trying to get the posture and form then it won’t work because you won’t be able to develop the proper rowing motion and feel for the boat.
You need the right posture to develop efficiency and this will help you link more naturally the different parts of your body and make your rowing stroke look athletic, relax and more natural.