Sit on the erg and pull a few light strokes without putting your feet into the straps.

Most who try this for the first time end up falling back off the seat as their feet rise from the foot plate. And Ergers who have excessive lie back usually end up on the floor!

    • The first secret to successful strapless Erging is timing. You must aim to finish your legs back and arm power phase at roughly the same time. When you do well, your natural lean back angle will be at about 2 o clock. When it is done very well, your chest and core open up and your shoulder blades almost pinch together at the finish. The upshot of this is that it allows your lungs to function very well.
    • Point your toes and straighten your legs. The second secret for successful strapless Erging is to keep pressure on the foot plate at all times – especially at the finish of the stroke.
    • When you first try this you will really feel as though you are cutting the power phase short by about a third. For while it will feel counter intuitive, but stick with it. I always begin my workouts with a couple of minutes warming up with strapless feet. And when I go back to normal feet, the difference is amazing.
    • Work on your core. Lots of excessive layback is caused by default – weak stomach muscles and core. Engage your core during the power phase to brace yourself and use it to prevent laying back excessively.

    Low Pull or High Pull?

    • If you Erg with a long lean back you must pull high because otherwise the handle would end up somewhere below your waist!
    • The most efficient path for the handle to travel from the start to the end of the power phase is in a straight line. And as level a handle as possible. Imagine looking at yourself from the side when you are on the erg. You can see the handle moving perfectly parallel to the floor around and around in a smooth cyclical rhythm.
    • More often than not the handle is drawn in too high. This is caused by too much arm pulling at the finish. If you have this problem, think about powering up early in the stroke and releasing the handle early towards the body in a smooth horizontal motion.

    Want New Rowing Insights?

    You'll get immediately notified when a new article gets posted.

    rowing book