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Drill into Style

Technique Drills to help find good rowing style with Quiske


Drills provide a good refresher on technique and that's why we regularly do them. You can work on drills on any kind of ergs: Concept2, Concept2 on slides, and RP3s or any other machine (below we show examples on the ergs mentioned). Drills can improve your catch and relax your recovery leading to better rhythm and increased efficiency.

What are drills?

Drills are repeated parts of a stroke, small chunks of a stroke. Quiske prefers a segmented rowing style, where different segments or chunks follow each other, albeit fluidly. By doing rowing drills you can isolate the different segments and finetune them, but when rowing normal full strokes the segments blend into each other with a bit of overlap resulting in efficient fluid rowing. It is good to do rowing drills regularly, e.g. for warming up before your training. Switch drills every 30 seconds and you get a nice 5min warmup that you can include once or twice in your weekly training:

  • 0sec  Arms only
  • 30s Arms & Hips
  • 1m Full stroke
  • 1m30s Legs only
  • 2m Legs & Hips
  • 2m30s Full stroke
  • 3m Pause after arms away
  • 3m30s Full stroke
  • 4m Pause after arms & body away
  • 4m30s Full stroke
Next is a video of the above sequence and then we'll drill into each drill in detail by explaining how each drill is done and what the corresponding data looks like when dissected from the full stroke.  

Technique drills on Concept 2

Drilling into the data

By looking at the measured rowing data we can learn more about the drills and how they join together to form a full fluid stroke. The below graphs show a full stroke, both the drive and the recovery of the seat (red) and handle (blue) measured with the Quiske Rowing App and pod (phone on the handle and pod on the seat). The y-axis shows the speed in m/s and the x-axis corresponds to the time, which in the case of the 20 SPM below is 3 seconds. When the speed is positive the seat and/or the handle is moving in the driving direction and when negative in the recovering direction:

Seat and Handle speeds during a full stroke, drive and recovery as measured with Quiske on the concept 2 indoor rowing machine

Let's look at the drills one by one and learn where each drill is located within the full rowing stroke. We'll start with descriptions on how to correctly perform the drill and then provide a graph indicating where the particular drill segment would fit inside the full stroke graph.

Arms only

How to do it:

  • Quick drive and recovery with the arms only.
  • Keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible and your legs straight. 

The arms produce only 10% of the work. The below graphs show the seat speed and the handle speed of a full stroke at 20SPM on the Concept 2 and the yellow area corresponds to the segment where the arms drive and recover (the seat is stationary at this point since the legs have fully extended before you start pulling with your hands). When working on drills you focus on learning how to make the most of the weakest part of your body producing the best possible finish and start of the recovery.

Seat and handle speed measured with Quiske, Arms portion colored yellow.

Arms & Hips

The next drill brings your trunk into play, with a swing.

  • The swing should be from 11am to 1pm during the drive 
  • Relax back to 11am during the recovery, that's enough
  • Start your swing as soon as the legs have extended, this means you should only start opening your back once your shoulders move past your hips. 
  • Finish off the movement by pulling with your arms.

The Arms & Hips correspond to 30%+10% of the full work. The yellow area shows the period of the swing from 11am to 1pm and back to 11am during the drive and recovery where the seat is stationary (legs extended).

Seat and handle speed as measured with Quiske: Arms&Hips portion colored yellow.

Legs only

  • Push with the legs and do not open the back
  • Stay firm and keep your package together in the early stages of the drive 

During the leg push the handle should move with the same speed as the seat (the blue and red graphs have the same gradient in the graph below). Opening your back too early results in the handle speed growing past the seat speed during the early drive and you can learn to avoid this by working on leg drills and keeping your back put. This part of the stroke influences the Style factor of the Quiske Virtual Coach the most. The legs produce about 60% of the full work. The yellow area below shows the drive phase of the legs:

The seat and handle speed during one stroke measured with Quiske. The Legs Only portion is colored yellow.

Legs & Hips

  • First the legs and only then the hips
  •  Open your back from 11am to 1pm. 

Legs& Hips provide about 90% of the work. The yellow area below shows the legs&hips drive phase:

broken image

Pause at arms away

This drill adds a pause at arms away:

  • Push fully with your legs and add the hips and arms= A full drive
  •  Recover arms only and then pause with the arms extended. 
  • Make sure you keep your legs extended during the recovery of the arms. 
  • Your back should stay at 1pm and should not recover to 11am until after the pause (1-2 seconds)
The yellow area shows the full drive and the recovery of the arms.
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Pause at Arms & Body over

This drill adds a pause at arms& body over:

  • do the full drive (legs, hips, arms)
  • Recover with your arms & hips and then pause with the arms extended 
  • Make sure you keep your legs extended but recover your back to 11am before the pause (1-2 seconds). 
  • Keep a firm package and prepare yourself mentally for a quick catch.
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What does the Virtual Coach say?

Quiske promotes segmented rowing with legs first, then the hips and finally the arms. When rowing like this the Virtual Coach may give you thumbs up or even a heart. See our earlier blogs about the Virtual Coach if you'd like to learn more.

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Dynamic Drills

The above drills were done on the Concept 2. However, some drills are more easily done on dynamic ergs, such as the Concept2 on slides or the RP3. It may even be easier to master some of these drills (e.g. legs only) first on dynamic and after that to perform them correctly on static. Check videos of the drills on Concept2 on slides and on the RP3 below. Contact us if you'd like the above graphs measured on dynamic ergs: they do look quite different as the frame corresponds to the seat on the static.

Technique Drills on Concept2 on Slides

Technique drills on the RP3

It's always a good idea to not only measure yourself but also shoot some video directly from the side to spot areas for improvement.

Wishing enjoyable rowing drills,