Are you new to rowing machines, or just looking to improve your understanding of the sport of rowing? Whether you’re a seasoned rower or a beginner, understanding the terminology of rowing can help you get the most out of your workouts and improve your performance.
In this guide, we’ll explore the key terms, lingo, and concepts that are essential for anyone looking to master the art of rowing. From the basics of the rowing stroke to the intricacies of heart rate training and lactate threshold, we’ll cover everything you need to know to become a more knowledgeable and effective rower.
Top 10 Rowing Machine Terms You Should Know
Haven’t got long? Well, these are the top 10 terms you should know. They are essential for understanding the basic mechanics of rowing machines and for developing the skills and techniques necessary to become a successful rower.
- Stroke: The fundamental unit of rowing technique, consisting of the catch, drive, finish, and recovery.
- Catch: The beginning of the stroke, where the rower’s oar blade enters the water.
- Drive: The portion of the stroke where the rower pulls the oar handle towards their body, using their legs, back, and arms.
- Finish: The end of the stroke, where the rower’s oar blade leaves the water.
- Recovery: The portion of the stroke where the rower returns to the catch position, extending their arms, pivoting their body forward, and sliding their seat back up the rail.
- Drag factor: The amount of resistance a rowing machine provides. It can be adjusted on most machines to simulate different water conditions.
- Split time: The amount of time it takes to row 500 meters. It is used as a measure of a rower’s speed and fitness.
- Stroke rate: The number of strokes a rower takes per minute. Stroke rate is an important variable in rowing, as it can affect boat speed, efficiency, and endurance.
- Damper setting: A lever on the rowing machine that adjusts the airflow to the flywheel, affecting the feel of the rowing stroke.
- Ergometer (erg): A rowing machine used for indoor training and competition. Ergometers are designed to simulate the motion of rowing on water and typically feature a sliding seat and a resistance mechanism such as a flywheel or water tank.
46 Rowing Terms To Help You Master Your Training
By familiarizing yourself with these terms and techniques, you’ll be better equipped to set and achieve your fitness goals, improve your rowing technique, and understand concepts in both indoor and outdoor competitive rowing events.
- Ergometer (erg): A rowing machine used for indoor training and competition. Ergometers are designed to simulate the motion of rowing on water, and typically feature a sliding seat and a resistance mechanism such as a flywheel or water tank.
The Rowing Machine Stroke
- Stroke: A complete rowing movement, consisting of the catch, drive, finish, and recovery. The stroke is the fundamental unit of rowing technique and can be broken down into individual components for training and analysis.
- Catch: The beginning of the stroke, where the rower’s oar blade enters the water. The catch position is characterized by a forward-leaning torso, a straight arm holding the oar handle, and a slight bend in the knees.
- Drive: The portion of the stroke where the rower pulls the oar handle towards their body, using their legs, back, and arms. The drive is the most powerful part of the stroke and is where the rower generates the majority of their speed and force.
- Finish: The end of the stroke, where the rower’s oar blade leaves the water. The finish position is characterized by a vertical torso, straight arms, and a slight lean back.
- Recovery: The portion of the stroke where the rower returns to the catch position, extending their arms, pivoting their body forward, and sliding their seat back up the rail. The recovery is a critical part of the stroke, as it allows the rower to reset their position and prepare for the next stroke.
Rowing Machine Components
- Drag factor: The amount of resistance a rowing machine provides. It can be adjusted on most machines to simulate different water conditions. Drag factor is measured in units of “damper settings” on many machines, with higher settings providing more resistance.
- Split time: The amount of time it takes to row 500 meters. It is used as a measure of a rower’s speed and fitness. Split time is a commonly used metric in rowing training and competition, as it allows coaches and athletes to track progress over time.
- Stroke rate: The number of strokes a rower takes per minute. Stroke rate is an important variable in rowing, as it can affect boat speed, efficiency, and endurance. Optimal stroke rates can vary depending on the race distance, crew composition, and conditions.
- Damper: A device that controls the airflow to the flywheel, allowing the user to adjust the resistance level.
- Damper setting: A lever on the rowing machine that adjusts the airflow to the flywheel, affecting the feel of the rowing stroke. Damper setting can be used to simulate different water conditions and to tailor the resistance to a rower’s individual preferences and goals. Lower settings are generally used for longer, endurance-based workouts, while higher settings are used for shorter, more intense workouts.
- Flywheel: The spinning wheel that creates resistance during the rowing motion, simulating the feel of rowing on water.
- Drive Mechanism: The system that transfers the user’s rowing motion to the flywheel. This can be a chain, strap, or rope and pulley system.
- Handle: The part of the rowing machine that the user grips while performing the rowing motion.
- Seat: The moving platform where the user sits during the workout.
- Seat Rail: The track on which the seat slides back and forth, allowing the user to move during the rowing motion.
- Footrests or Footplates: Adjustable platforms where the user places their feet, typically equipped with straps for securing the feet in place.
- Monitor or Display: The electronic component that tracks and displays workout data, such as distance, time, strokes per minute, and calories burned.
- Power Source: The rowing machine may be powered by electricity, batteries, or in some cases, it may be self-generating through the user’s rowing motion.
- Resistance Type: Refers to the method used to create resistance in the rowing machine, such as air, magnetic, hydraulic, or water resistance.
- Power curve: A graph of a rower’s power output over the course of a stroke. Power curve data can be used to analyze a rower’s technique and to identify areas for improvement.
- Force curve: A graph of the force applied to the rowing machine over the course of a stroke. Force curve data can be used to analyze a rower’s technique and to identify areas for improvement.
- On-water simulation: Rowing machines that are designed to closely mimic the feel of rowing on water. These machines typically use water tanks or other mechanisms to simulate the resistance and motion of rowing on a lake or river.
- Indoor rowing competition: A race or series of races held on rowing machines. These competitions are typically organized by distance or time, with competitors aiming to complete the set distance or time in the fastest possible time.
- Concept2: A popular brand of rowing machines used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts around the world. Concept2 machines are known for their durability, accuracy, and versatility.
- Virtual coaching: Coaching services provided through a rowing machine’s computer program or mobile app. Virtual coaching can provide personalized training plans, feedback on technique, and motivation for athletes. Rowing machines such as Hydrow and Ergatta provide virtual training and coaching.
- Drag factor calibration: A process for calibrating the resistance mechanism on a rowing machine to ensure accurate and consistent readings. Calibration is typically recommended before each workout or at least once a month.
- Dynamic ergometer: A type of rowing machine that allows for a greater range of motion and a more realistic rowing experience. Dynamic ergometers feature a moving footplate and a flexible chain or belt, allowing for a more dynamic stroke.
- Virtual reality: A feature on some rowing machines that allows users to row through virtual environments or race against other users in a virtual setting. Virtual reality can add an element of fun and variety to indoor rowing workouts.
- Coxswain (cox): The member of a rowing crew who steers the boat and provides direction and motivation to the rowers. In rowing machines, the role of the coxswain is usually performed by a computer program or by the individual rower.
- Heart rate monitor: A device used to measure a rower’s heart rate during exercise. Heart rate is an important metric for monitoring fitness levels and ensuring proper training intensity.
- Half-slide drill: A training drill in which the rower completes the first half of the stroke, from the catch to the halfway point of the drive, then returns to the catch position before completing the full stroke. Half-slide drills can be used to improve technique and power output.
- Recovery drill: A training drill in which the rower completes the recovery portion of the stroke, from the finish to the catch, without completing the drive. Recovery drills can be used to improve timing and coordination.
- Power output: The amount of work a rower is able to produce in a given amount of time, typically measured in watts or calories. Power output is a key metric for tracking performance and progress in rowing.
- Steady-state: A type of rowing workout characterized by a moderate intensity and a continuous, steady pace. Steady-state workouts are often used for endurance training and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
- HIIT: High-intensity interval training, a type of workout that alternates short bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of lower-intensity recovery. HIIT workouts on a rowing machine can improve both cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.
- Tabata: A specific type of HIIT workout that involves 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 4 minutes. Tabata workouts on a rowing machine can be a challenging and effective way to improve fitness.
- Cross-training: The practice of incorporating different types of exercise into a fitness routine to improve overall performance and prevent injury. Rowing machines can be an effective cross-training tool for athletes in other sports, such as running, cycling, or swimming.
- Recovery heart rate: The heart rate immediately following a workout or intense exercise. Measuring recovery heart rate can provide insight into a person’s cardiovascular fitness and overall health.
- Pacing: The strategy of controlling the intensity and speed of a workout or race in order to optimize performance. Pacing is an important skill in rowing, as it can help athletes conserve energy and maintain a consistent pace over longer distances.
- Lactate threshold: The point at which the body begins to produce more lactate than it can clear from the bloodstream, leading to a buildup of acid in the muscles and a decrease in performance. Lactate threshold training is a common technique used by rowers to improve endurance and delay fatigue.
- Heart rate zone training: A method of training in which the athlete’s heart rate is used to determine the intensity and duration of workouts. Heart rate zone training can help athletes maximize the benefits of their training and avoid overtraining or injury.
- Cool-down: A period of low-intensity exercise performed at the end of a workout, typically 5-10 minutes in duration. Cool-downs can help to gradually decrease heart rate, prevent dizziness, and reduce muscle soreness.
- Warm-up: A period of low-intensity exercise performed at the beginning of a workout, typically 5-10 minutes in duration. Warm-ups can help to increase heart rate, increase blood flow to the muscles, and prepare the body for more intense exercise.
- Interval training: A type of workout in which high-intensity exercise is alternated with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. Interval training can improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness and is commonly used by rowers to improve speed and power output.
- Power ten: A rowing drill in which the rowers perform ten powerful strokes in a row, followed by a period of lower-intensity rowing. Power tens can help to build strength and power, and are often used in racing to make a final push toward the finish line.