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Basic Core for Rowing

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

Your core is essential for all sports. Let's look at it for rowing.

Here's what we will cover:

1. What is your core and why is it important?

2. How should you train it?

1. What is your core and why is it important?

There are many definitions, but to generalise, it is what connects your arms and your legs. The power generated by your legs in each stroke needs to transfer to the oar. To do this, your core needs to be strong enough to hold proper posture and position, allowing your torso to move backwards using the energy generated from your legs, and transfer as much of this energy as possible into your arms and therefore, into the oar. If your core is too weak, then some of the energy produced by your legs will be wasted. Similarly, if your core is strong enough to transfer this energy, yet does not have the muscular endurance to do so for the couple of hundred strokes of a race, then energy will start to be wasted. And other aspect of your core that we will look at is the deep postural control that it can provide. This is important in maintaining good pelvic positions in the rockover, and when you are in the catch.

So we will be training:

(i) deep core muscles for postural integrity.

(ii) superficial muscles at the front of your torso (anterior).

(iii) the side of your torso (lateral)

(iv) the back of your torso (posterior)

Additionally, these will be trained for:

a. anti-extension.

b. anti-flexion.

c. anti-rotation.

d. rotation.

Looks like a lot. So let's break this down.

2. How should you train it?

Until you've mastered the deep core movements, these can be done every day. They aren't fatiguing. More, they are developing an ability to learn how to switch them on and off. If you can activate whilst lying down on your back (supine), then advance this by keeping that activation as you move one leg then switching legs, then moving both, etc. Only move on to the next stage in these progressions once you have mastered the stage that you are on.

For the rest we need strength, and endurance. Typically, these can be trained separately, and alternating, at the end of each of each of your gym sessions. For example:

Monday - core strength

Tuesday - core endurance

Thursday - core strength

Friday - core endurance

They will both help contribute to each other, and can both improve at the same time. With all the areas that can be trained mentioned above, this would take a long time in one individual session. So break it down so that they are all covered throughout the week. For example:

Monday - hanging leg raises, back extensions, side plank hip dips.

Tuesday - prone, side and supine holds.

Thursday - aleknas, superman pulses, Russian twists.

Friday - single arm farmer's carry, plank, side plank.

This way every aspect is covered within one week.

Sets and reps? Start low, and build slowly. When you are handling 3 rounds of 15 reps of each exercise, or 60s of each for the holds with ease, then reset the reps back down and add some load.

To see how this can integrate into a programme, head over to our shop.


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