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On Initiating Movement to Optimize Performance

The seat needs to move before engaging the handle? A point of view


In the realm of indoor rowing technique, we've always stressed the importance of initiating movement with the erg's seat before engaging the handle.

This principle holds true, particularly in static rowing. However, when utilizing slides (dynamic), the distinction becomes negligible, and it's not something to overly fixate on. The primary objective with slides is to initiate the movement of the frame (erg) first, by actions of the feet, and then the seat, and handle are almost stationary.

The aim is to sense pressure in your fingertips before entering the working phase, where this pressure is then transferred sequentially from the legs to the back (during the swing), and ultimately culminates in the finish with the hands. Failing to adhere to this sequence risks squandering the initial effort, as there's typically a 10-15 cm "dead zone" in the C2 RowErg at the beginning, which necessitates foot engagement before the effective work phase begins. This contrast isn't present in water rowing, except perhaps during the initial pull against the resistance of the water. When rowing on water, the pressure on the oars occurs only when the grip is engaged. The distinction from indoor rowing lies in the initial empty pull on the ergometer, which is solely dictated by the RowErg and beyond individual influence. Conversely, when on water, this initial phase is influenced by rowing technique, which of course can be controlled.

To grasp this concept visually, we encourage you to closely examine the slow-motion clip (ergomara rowing at 2h) provided in the video below.

A seasoned coach possesses the discernment to identify challenges with the catch with a mere glance, and can then show the problem using using slow-motion video analysis. 

Catch-proficiency can also be quantified meticulously using the Quiske app, which showcases each catch on the ergometer with both visual and numerical style values. Note that Quiske analytics is available for both static and dynamic ergs. Similarly, when on water, premature back opening, a poor catch, and rushing on recovery become apparent through detailed analysis of the Quiske acceleration curve.

We’re curious about the extent to which dynamic devices (such as slides or RP3) are utilized within your organization: let us know in the comments! 😊