is a total body workout. Rowing only looks like an upper body sport. Although
upper body strength is important, the strength of the rowing stroke comes from
the legs. Rowing is one of the few athletic activities that involves all of the
body’s major muscle groups. It is a great aerobic workout, in the same vein as
cross-country skiing, and is a low-impact sport on the joints
are probably the world’s best athletes. Rowing looks graceful, elegant and
sometimes effortless when it is done well. Don’t be fooled. Rowers haven’t been
called the world’s most physically fit athletes for nothing. The sport demands
endurance, strength, balance, mental discipline, and an ability to continue on
when your body is demanding that you stop.
(like a broom) and Sculling (with a “c”). There are two basic types of rowing:
sweep rowing and sculling. In sweep rowing, athletes hold one oar with both hands.
In sculling, the athletes have two oars, one in each hand.
equipment. Today’s rowing boats are called shells, and they’re made of
lightweight carbon fiber. The smallest boat on the water is the single scull,
which is only 27-30 feet long, a foot wide and approximately 30 pounds. Eights
are the largest boats at 60 feet and a little over 200 pounds. Rowers use oars
to propel their shells. Sweep oars are longer than sculling oars, typically
with carbon fiber handles and rubber grips (although some sweepers still prefer
wooden handles). Sculling oars are almost never wood.
crew. Athletes are identified by their position in the boat. The athlete
sitting in the bow, the part of the boat that crosses the finish line first, is
the bow seat or No. 1 seat. The person in front of the bow is No. 2, then No. 3
and so on. The rower closest to the stern that crosses the finish line last is
known as the stroke. The stroke of the boat must be a strong rower with
excellent technique, as the stroke is the person who sets the rhythm of the
boat for the rest of the rowers.
watching. The crew that’s making it look easy is most likely the one doing the
best job. When watching a race, look for a continuous, fluid motion from the
rowers; synchronization in the boat; clean catches, i.e. oars entering the
water with little splash; and the boat with the most consistent speed.
is number one. Rowing isn’t a great sport for athletes looking for MVP status.
It is, however, teamwork’s best teacher. The athlete trying to stand out in an
eight will only make the boat slower. The crew made up of individuals willing
to sacrifice their personal goals for the team will be on the medal stand
together. Winning teammates successfully match their desire, talent and bladework
with one another.
is the ultimate walk-on sport. It’s easier
to get started than you think!