4 comments on “Indoor Rowing Handle Position Controversy and Experiment

  1. GB poster: I noticed the picture and liked it, though it was a great composition. Wasn’t bohered at all by the form.

    I’ve seen some on-the-water rowers with some interesting erg techniques that usually involve trying to lengthen the stroke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3LpVjQZvm4
    This is footage from a recent 20 min ergo race called the (Amsterdam) Ergohead where the following records were set:

    LSA, Steffen Bonde: 6156m (1:37.5) – Black w/ vertical red stripe
    SA, Roel Braas: 6433m (1:33.3) White shirt w/ red and green stripe

    Here’s another picture of Roel: http://www.nlroei.nl/Fotoboek-display-102516.html

    Roel is on the Dutch men’s 8 national team, and pulled a 5:45 2K 11 months ago.

    Here’s my personal favorite, Henrik Stephansen setting the new 2K LWT World Record at 5:57.4 last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqIAfBegkn4
    Purists might say he bends his arms early and has a huge backswing, layback and takes the handle too high, wrong wrist position etc etc. I see a rowing machine of a man pounding his way to an erg score that nobody else ever managed.

    I think as far as indoor rowing races go these rowers are proving the purists wrong. Of course you can’t row like this on the water, but that’s not the point for these guys during an indoor rowing race.

    • Johan, It’s funny – I was going to reference the Stephansen video also with the same observation regarding the arms – the technique looks rough but you can’t argue with the result! Same could be said of Waddell in the 2000 Olympic singles finals. I think it’s easier now for people to critique the elites because of the amount of video footage available, etc. Thanks again for the links, and for reading!

      P.S. is Roel wearing Okeanos colors in that picture? I have a similar-looking racing shirt from 1989 when Okeanos hosted us to race the Senior B eight at the Holland Beker. I will never forget their hospitality!


      • Roel rows for Okeanos, good memory Marc 🙂 Good to hear they made a memorable impression on you, and that you ventured all the way out here back then. 🙂 As far as technique on the erg goes, I think its best taught the classic way with flats wrists etc etc. Then if/when you get to the elite level I think you know what works best for you.

        Enjoyed the article!

  2. I think your ‘better’ results with flat wrists are because the connection is stronger with a straight line from your hand/handle to your elbow.
    Thanks for doing the experiment to let us know the answers. Maybe next time round you can do it the other way – flat wrist first then bent wrist and get a comparison?

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