Opinion–CrossFit Journal Video on Rowing “Quick Fix”

Hmmmm…I’m usually a big fan of CrossFit Endurance, but I have to hit the buzzer on some aspects of the new CrossFit Journal video on rowing “quick fixes.”  There is some really questionable rowing technique in this video.  There is no stored energy, flow, ratio, or concept of length, and there is a lot of stiffness and shooting the slide. 

I get the point about feet out of the straps, as that is a good drill to ensure you are maintaining force through the finish. 

I get the point about rotating the hip instead of flexing the lumbar spine. 

I am not an expert in deadlifting and I have a lot to learn from my CrossFit colleagues.  I do know enough to say that they are related motions, but not the same.  If anything, when deadlifting I want to find the shortest path for the bar, and perform the motion slowly and solidly. 

In rowing I want to maximize the length of the stroke within the limits of biomechanics, and do so explosively and elastically.  You can’t explode off the stretcher without activating the quadriceps at the front of the drive, and you can’t store energy elastically in the torso by keeping the rigid position you would use when deadlifting. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the CrossFit and rowing communities can learn a lot from each other, and I’m all for being iconoclastic when the results support it.  On the point of rowing technique, however, I’m going to take my advice from the best in the world:

1.  Video of US Women’s double winning the world championships in 2011.  It’s smooth, it’s powerful, it exudes efficiency, and most of all, it’s LONG.

2.  Study by Dr. Valery Kleshnev on the biomechanics of the top scullers in the world, and the different schools of rowing technique.