Staying Braced For Maximum Rowing Power.

Imagine this.  Imagine you are in a life and death situation. Imagine that you are out for a walk one fine sunny day. As your route passes by a cliff top you hear a shout for help. You lean over the guard wall and look down to see someone stuck on a ledge 50 feet below.

You must help this person and you must act quickly. There’s no one else around to help and you’ve got no cell phone coverage. You think about climbing down but that’s not going to achieve anything.

You look around and amazingly find a rope nearby. You decide to tie a big stick to one end and throw the other end down. You tell the person to hold on so you can pull them up.

Now what – what’s next. How do you do it? What is the best way to use your body weight and strength to lever this person up the 50 feet to safety?

Want to know what I’d do?

Well I’d anchor my feet against the wall and use all of my leg back and arm strength to lever the person up. Each couple of feet I would gain, I would wrap the rope around a nearby anchor to take the slack off the handle. I would then wind the slack piece of rope around the stick, release the anchor and pull again.

It’d be hard work but I’d know from erging and rowing that by bracing my feet low against the wall, I am able to hang and lever all of my weight from my feet through my legs, back and arms.

I also know that by keeping my arms straight makes me stronger and I don’t get tired. My arms only bend when the pressure comes off so I can wind the stick.

This is the feeling you need to get when you are bracing your feet against the erg foot plate. You need to hang your weight through your legs, back and straight arms onto the handle.

Remember:The seat is only used for balance.

 Here’s a simple exercise to get the feeling of hanging your weight on the handle.

  • Arrange for you and a partner and sit on the floor facing each other.
  • Connect both of your feet so that your right foot sole is pressing against your partner’s right foot sole. Do the same on the left side.
  • Both of you must keep both knees slightly bent.  Next, form a hook with your right hand by making an unclenched fist. Get your partner to do the same and connect by hooking each other. Do the same on the left side.
  • Now use your feet to anchor, your hands for levering and the ground as your balance point. Experiment with lighter and heavier partners to get that feeling of hanging your body weight.

P.S. You should read this erg rowing technique article I recently put up. It fits well with the stuff said above.