You can only feel your rowing through your hands, feet and rowing seat.
So the way you are going to sit and how you are going to do it, are going to affect your rowing experience and rowing development.
The rowing seats we have in the boats have 2 wholes and a specific shape. The 2 wholes are there to let your seat bones sink in and the shape to make your rowing experience the right one.
Sitting on a seat for a long time is not easy and if you are not used to it and don’t have the right strengths in your body it’s going to be painful after a few miles but with time you will get stronger and it will get better.
The rowing seat with holes helps you to:
1- Rotate your hips so you can get extra length at the catch and suspend your body weight like on this picture. If you don’t learn to rotate your hips and suspend your body weight, you won’t be able to reach your maximum rowing potential. Here is a good way to know how if feels when you have rotated your hips. Try to do this do that exercise and hang on your grip and feet and suspend your weight.
2- Keep anchored on it and not move while rowing. The 2 holes will help you anchor your seat bones and be able to rock your body weight from the front of the seat at the catch to the back of the seat at the end of the stroke.
3- Help you with rhythm and timing. A good stroke where you manage well your body weight with the timing of the rowing stroke cycle and the run of the boat will give you good rhythm.
So It is important that while rowing you start focusing on your relationship with your seat and check those key points:
a- Do you move in the seat while rowing? Do you feel anchored? If you don’t, you need to change the way you seat because moving on the seat while you row is something that slows down your rowing.
b- Do you feel just before the catch your body weight on the front of the seat? Have you rotated your hips? If you don’t you need to learn to sit up, at the end of the stroke and feel as you move to the stern that your sit bones move to the back of the seat and your weight starts moving on the seat to the front. Maybe your feet are too high or too vertical and that position of your feet is not helping you rotate your hips and get more length at the catch.
c- Do you feel suspended during the drive? Do you feel you lose weight on the seat during the drive because you are actually having that weight on your feet and on your handle, hanging on it and levering one against the other and keeping your total dead weight not on the seat but distributed between seat, feel and handle.
d- Do you feel the wheels of your seat moving to the bow at the same time as you feel pressure on your hands and feet? Do you time the movement of your seat well with the entry and load of your blade?
e- Do you feel your weight coming down at the end of the stroke as you change direction and move your hands away? Do you time that all of that well? Do your wheels start moving to the stern as your weight has landed and your hands moved away and your body weight started shifting to the front part of the seat?
The relationship you have with your rowing seat is key for your rowing experience and development. I highly recommend you to row all the time on water and land with a seat like on the boat. Rowing dynamic all the time and doing all the things I described above can only help you to become a better rower. What you do on land will develop the habits that you will apply on the water so be sure they are the right ones!