Focus On Rowing
Athleat has a good look at what makes you a good rower.
So, what makes you a powerful and "fit" world class rower? Do you have to be tall with long levers? Do you have to weigh over 15 stone? Is it all about your technique? Do you have to have gone to a public school?
The answer to these questions is a partial yes (apart from the schooling!), and although being big and strong will help you to row well, you cannot underestimate the importance of the mental strength present in many "smaller athletes" But we are interested in comparative individual performance, because with rowing it's a battle royale against yourself!
What are the components you need for a powerful and efficient rowing stroke?
Firstly you need to look at the rowing stroke, and break that down into phases. This very simplified version will certainly get you on your way to a better rowing stroke
Is the phase that prepares you for your stroke, in the most efficient manner. Get your posture correct and lean slightly forward to initiate the long stroke...before you begin, have a little tension on the "oar" rather than snatching at it...and remember to stay relaxed!
Is the phase where you apply that power in the most efficient manner possible with good form to avoid injury. Rowing is a pushing sport not a pulling one, as always all the power comes from your legs, the arms only come into to it to finish off the stroke at the end. Very much like a deadlift, push with those legs! The movement is a fluid one, with the push from your legs combining with the pull from your upper body to propel that craft forward!
The recovery is where you finish off that drive phase with a long relaxed finish, many rowers finish the stroke at chest height to gain a few extra meters. Then start the process all over again...complete this 600 times and you have just finished the Varsity Boat Race....
How do the best in the world do it?
The Oxford Crew easily won the recent Varsity Boat Race, a scientific approach was attributed to have helped their success. Below is a video from the BBC Sport site showing one of the Oxford crew completing a gruelling fitness test in preparation for the racing season ahead. Nicknamed the "Beast" this guy apparently has an extremely high lactate tolerances, which means that he can keep pushing himself harder! The 19 year old Constantine Louloudis is reckoned to be British Rowing's next Olympic champion...has he got the mental aptitude to go along with the obvious physical attributes?
So, Pinsent knows how to teach the up and coming stars how to approach fitness tests...and although he looks out of shape now, Pinsent is truely one of the best rowers Great Britain has ever produced, below is a video from back in the day of Matthew Pinsent v James Cracknell in 2001's World Indoor Rowing Championship.
(Editor - Apologies for the naff music by the way!)
Anyone who can go head to head with the inspirational James Cracknell gets a pat on the back from me!
Along with technique, hard training and the dedication required you cannot play down the importance nutrition makes to your performance.
What you put into your body is a true reflection of the performance you get out of it...and as far as I am aware there are not too many diesel Ferrari's out there. So eat high quality food and reap the rewards. Try our variety box to see how good Athleat's produce really is!