in the boat i dont think i do it as much but i would still like to get
is it important? and if so, how?
(related to 8s, and a tiny bit of sculling)
I have been working on the elasticity of the quadriceps and a initial
strong torque in the knee joint or initial isolated use of the knee
joint in the drive. I believe it might reduce a too early tilt of the
back which could be due to hip extension at a point where it hasn't
much use. This change of focus from the back (or hips) to the knees
might work for you as well.
Find James G Hay, Biomechanics of Sports Techniques. Find in there
"order" principal and "Summation of Joint Moments" - I think they're
in there (my really old copy is 400 km away) - or look online for
"qualitative biomechanics" - you might find something informative.
In short - yep, it is probably important.
On a static erg there is slack at the catch; after sliding forward the
handle moves a significant distance before you feel resistance. This
encourages opening the back too soon. To avoid this, try using a
Concept II with slides, or even better a RowPerfect erg. On a static
erg I try to solve this by reaching out as much as possible with hands
an shoulders and not kicking too hard at the catch.
Furthermore I believe maintaining good back posture during the first
phase of the stroke is not only technically hard, but very hard work
as well. To be able to do it, and keep doing it right for a longer
piece of rowing, you need strength and endurance in your corset
musculature. Therefore I train my high/low/side abdominal muscles and
back muscles after each erg workout. Also I throw in some stability
exercises like pushups and sidehangs (hard to describe).
I wonder if you know what maintains a given "back angle"? We need to
clear way the fog of what we are told, feel & think happens in order to
see the rather simple underlying mechanics.
What we term the back angle is established at any instant by the
combined effect of the angle that you open between thigh & pelvis & the
current alignment of the thigh. As you move along the slide, the thigh
rotates downwards & sternwards about the hip. If you fail to open the
angle between thigh & pelvis, then your back will also rotate with the
thigh towards the stern. If you open the thigh/pelvis angle more
rapidly you give the impression of "over-using" your back or "using it
When you take a rowing stroke you do progressively open the angle
between thigh & pelvis to maintain a semblance of an upright back. But
the back is not held independently in any posture by its own muscles.
The opening, faster or slower, earlier or later, of the "back angle" is
the direct result of your choice, conscious or otherwise, as to how
rapidly to contract the large muscles that work through the region of
the buttocks against how rapidly the knees go down.
The back is not in some way "held upright" or in any other attitude
independently of the hip joint, & there is no position WRT horizontal or
perpendicular in which it is "held strong". The back is a straight-ish
link between hip & shoulder, & the muscles running up it will pull
exactly as hard as necessary to maintain that relative straightness
against the loads you apply through legs & shoulders, plus any dynamic
loads imposed by changes in real velocity (which are very different
between ergs & shells). At the first approximation the back, although
composed of many smaller sections, can be seen as a pretty rigid lever
arm that is held independently in shape by its own internal musculature.
At that first approximation, its overall alignment at any moment WRT
the wholly arbitrary horizon has nothing to do with how hard, or not,
the back muscles pull.
At a second approximation, you can alter the curvature of the lower
back, just above the pelvis. But, again, the loads here remain those
determined by the force applied by the legs, although your lower back
may be better able to sustain them if its curvature is not too great.
That curvature is initially determined by how hard you try to curl the
lower back for the desired reach at the catch, but there's clear
evidence that reaching by too much lower back curling can be injurious
for what (IMHO) is an unacceptable proportion of rowers. Lower back
injuries are a big cause of folk leaving the sport, & they afflict the
victim for the rest of their life.
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
Email: ca...@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1932-570946 Fax: -563682
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)
I agree. Another thing to focus on is picking up the load at the catch
smoothly so that you can't feel the ratchet engage on the flywheel.
Apart from teaching posture and poise, I find it saves alot of jarring
on the back and prevents back-ache after long pieces.
> Furthermore I believe maintaining good back posture during the first
> phase of the stroke is not only technically hard, but very hard work
> as well. To be able to do it, and keep doing it right for a longer
> piece of rowing, you need strength and endurance in your corset
> musculature. Therefore I train my high/low/side abdominal muscles and
> back muscles after each erg workout. Also I throw in some stability
> exercises like pushups and sidehangs (hard to describe).
An exercise you could try is to work up the slide from frontstops -
quarter slide, half slide, three quarter slide, full slide, using legs
only and concentrating on keeping the hands level. Aim at a suitable
point on the ergo - e.g. the top of the slot that the chain comes
through. If you can do it with a mirror, so much the better.
It can feel 'unnatural' to keep the back at the catch angle during
the initial leg drive. However, if you make sure that you are
achieving full leg compression, then your legs are at their weakest
drive position and a static back feels OK. As the legs open they are
progressively stronger and can support and drive a back moving towards
the bows and eventually, at their strongest, just before flattening
down, the legs are supporting and driving the final back swing and
also the arms drawing to the body. This all fits in well with
acceleration of blade speed. The body is opening up and accelerating
in a natural response to the pressure feedback from the water.