Strength Training for Rowing

Strength Training for Rowing and Some of Its Benefits

Throughout my career, I supplemented my rowing workouts with strength training in the gym.  There are many different exercises athletes can choose to strengthen their bodies as well as their minds, some being more effective for faster injury free rowing and improving motivation. Here are a few topics:

  • The goal of strength training for rowing is to increase rowing specific strength and stay injury free.
  • Strength exercises need to further develop range of motion while protecting the joints from injury.
  • Compared to most other sports, the movement of rowing is repetitive with consistent active and rest periods. Therefore, it is valuable to use rowing friendly rhythms during strength training to further develop power to set consecutive new personal records.
  • Some popular strength exercises are blindly believed to augment rowing performance such as squatting and deadlifting. These lifts are highly overrated because the load exerted on the body is completely different from what the rowing stroke requires.
  • Strength training is an excellent activity to balance the muscles around all joints. It is critical to build rowing muscles, though their opposing muscles cannot be neglected. Strengthening the quads and having healthy knee joints demands a strong set of hamstrings, shin, and calf muscles to balance the repeated forces exerted on the knees and prevent harm to the joints. The same is true for strengthening the spine and shoulders.
  • There is a psychological advantage to strength training.  Strength training made me feel stronger physically and mentally: a feeling of invincibility. My “bring it on gear” was ready anytime.
  • Safety! My elite coaches made sure to remind me to always check my lifting technique. I followed a strict set of rules which kept me clear from getting injured.

Smart strength training for rowing is key to success. 

There are so many different ways to strength train and understanding the details matters for generating maximum elite results. Elite rowing coaches know these training details which help athletes reach new personal records.

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