Optimising Rowing Technique: Minimising Injury Risks


Rowing, a mix of strength, endurance, and technique, works the whole body but also presents the risk of injury if not practised correctly. This guide aims to enhance your rowing experience by focusing on technique optimisation to minimise injury risks.

2 key principles for an efficient Rowing Stroke

1. Maximum Speed, Minimum Effort

Good technique aims to achieve maximum speed with minimum effort, optimising the efficiency of your stroke

2. British Rowing Technique

The model of British Rowing Technique, developed by GB High Performance Coaches on the Technical Panel of British Rowing, provides a comprehensive guide for optimal performance.

Understanding the Rowing Stroke

The Catch

Position yourself at the front of the stroke with shins vertical, ensuring a forward lean from the hips, not the waist. This reduces lower back strain.

The Drive

Initiate the drive with your legs while keeping your arms straight and maintaining a strong back. The power should come from your lower body, preventing overuse of the arms and back.

The Finish

Lean back slightly from the hips, and draw the hands smoothly to the ribs. Avoid jerking to prevent back injuries.

The Recovery

Move smoothly from the finish back to the catch position, allowing your body to recover and prepare for the next stroke.

Tips for a healthy Rowing technique

Remember, practising and perfecting these techniques will not only enhance your performance but also contribute to a safer and more effective rowing experience.

Posture and Core Engagement

Maintaining the correct rowing technique is crucial for both performance enhancement and injury prevention. Proper posture and core engagement are vital throughout the stroke. A neutral spine, supported by engaged core muscles, helps distribute force evenly and reduces strain. Avoid slouching or overextending, as this can lead to back strain.

Shoulder and Arm Mechanics

The shoulder and arm mechanics in rowing also require attention. Shoulders should remain relaxed and lowered, not hunched, and arms should move in coordination with the stroke, ensuring a fluid motion. A firm but relaxed grip prevents wrist and forearm stress.

Hip Flexibility and Mobility

Hip flexibility and mobility play a significant role in achieving an effective catch position, essential for a powerful stroke. This flexibility also reduces the risk of hip and lower back injuries.

Balance and Symmetry in Movements

Balancing and symmetry in movements are critical for distributing power evenly and preventing compensatory movements that can lead to injury. Incorporating drills focusing on balance and symmetry can be beneficial.

Progressive Overload and Rest

Progressive overload in training, coupled with adequate rest and recovery, is essential for adaptation and injury prevention. Increasing training intensity gradually allows your body to adapt safely.

Listening to Your Body

Finally, listening to your body is crucial. Pay attention to signs of pain or discomfort. Early intervention can prevent more severe injuries, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable rowing experience. Remember, good technique is not just about performance; it's also about safety.

Incorporating these techniques into your rowing practice will not only improve your performance but also significantly reduce the risk of injury, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable rowing experience. Remember, good technique is a cornerstone of both safety and success in rowing.

Jason Howard

Managing Director

Jason is the Managing Director and owner of The White House clinic, incorporating The White House Medical Group, a partnership with Bupa Health (Bupa Sheffield), The White House Medicolegal Services and PhysioNet +.

Jason Howard

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