Rowing calls on both aerobic endurance and pure muscle. Height also helps because it enhances a rower’s leverage. Rowers spend about three-quarters of the season training aerobically and spend the rest of the time becoming more powerful. Rowers sit in seats that slide along a steel runner, allowing rowers to use the power of their legs during a stroke. This translates into a considerably faster speed than either canoeists or kayakers, who rely almost exclusively on upper body strength to power the craft. So if you are interesting in rowing and want to buy a good rowing machine then you have come to the right place.
Why Rowing is such a great exercise
Few sports call for the combination of power and endurance like rowing. Teams and individuals alike must travel 2,000 metres – whether piloting sculls (where each rower has two hinged oars) or racing shells (one oar). The first 500m is a sprint, with rowers paddling at a top rate of around 47 strokes a minute. Then comes the grueling 1,000m middle, when the pace steadies to between 36 and 40 strokes a minute, all to prepare for the finish, when the sprinting speed is resumed.
But power and endurance will only get you so far. Few sports require the kind of timing and teamwork of rowing, where one stroke out of step can finish a team’s medal hopes. That unspoken teamwork is essential since – like the backstroke – a rower can’t see the finish line. Only the sight of the coloured buoys on either side of the lane let the team know how close they are to the goal.
Catch, drive, finish and “up the slide”: The stroke
There are four basic elements to a rowing stroke: Catch, drive, finish and “up the slide.” As the stroke begins, a rower is crouched forward on the sliding seat with knees bent and arms outstretched and then drops the blade of the oar vertically into the water – this is the catch. The point of entry and depth of the blade in the water are crucial.
About the worst thing a rower can do in the catch is put the oar in too deep and “catch the crab,” says Canada’s Marnie McBean, four-time Olympic medallist. If the oar gets under too much water it can become impossible to fluidly remove it without the handle of the oar flying at you, says McBean. When that happens it often takes a few strokes to get back into rhythm.
During the beginning of the drive the rower extends the legs, which push off the foot supports and supply all of the power at this stage. As the upper body starts to uncoil, the arms pull the oar blades through the water, drawing the hands into the body.
The rower finishes the stroke by moving the oar handles down, while simultaneously turning it so that the oar turns from a vertical to a horizontal position as it exits the water.
Keeping the beat
Synchronicity is the critical issue in crew boat racing – the oar blades should enter and exit the water at the same time. In the eights, which is the fastest boat on the water, the goal is to make the momentum of eight bodies work together so that it translates into boat speed.
To that end everyone on the boat has a unique role. In the eights, steering is done by a coxswain – a non-rowing team member who “calls” the race, and communicates to the crew via a headset microphone to speakers in the boat.
Contrary to popular myth, the coxswain is not shouting “stroke, stroke,”. Instead the cox is in charge of implementing strategy and making sure everyone is keeping the same rate. In boats with no coxswain, the bowman at the front of the boat handles strategy. The stroke, who sits nearest the stern of the boat, does the steering with a foot pedal in coxless events and keeps the beat, like a drummer in a band.
Choosing the best rowing machine in 2018
As we have discussed about the benefits of rowing and how important it is for your fitness, now is the time to know how you can choose the best rowing machine.
I recently trained for The Dragon Boat festival with my husband in Vancouver, B.C. It was one of the most exciting Chinese holidays that continue to be celebrated to this present day in most parts of the world where Chinese communities thrive.
Said to have begun as an occasion to ward off disease and evil spirits and for finding their own peace, it has for its main highlight the Dragon boat races, where to the beat of pounding drums, teams compete rowing their boats forward with as much power as they can harness. To most revelers, this holiday serves as a colorful and thrilling reminder to keep themselves and their families fit and healthy.
The cardio training was incredibly intense and I must say my back was definitely sore, you would not believe! I am proud to say though, our team, despite being a newbie did very well. This whole thing has got me searching for some indoor rowing machines. My husband and I can then use the rowing machine in our workouts to keep our goals of being in the peek of health at all times.