Finger strength in rowing

Marlene and Rebecca tackle
– exercises to improve finger and forearm strength
– how to build aerobic base while training for the CrashBs

Timestamps to the show

04:00 Marlene is presenting at the US Rowing Convention on Training for Life

Exercises for fingers and forearm strength.

We got this question

Could you recommend some exercises to improve finger and forearm strength? My fingers and forearms often tire from trying to feather correctly without using my wrists,

Things to get right first

  • handle grip size – get the correct size for your hands
  • Initiate the turning movement don’t turn the full 90 degrees as you square and feather. If you get to 45 degrees, the oar will continue to turn under gravity
  • with your fingers make sure the back of your hand and wrist never falls underneath the handle. Because you need downward pressure on the handle to help roll the oar
  • check your boat set-up. Are you able to achieve the correct static positions at the finish?

Exercises for finger and forearm strength in rowing

  • Curling the fingers and knuckles exercise. Your extensor muscles aren’t strong. Flexor muscles are 4-6 times stronger. They are meant to grip and so get worked more than extensors.
  • Elastic band for strengthening the intrinsic muscles in your hand.
  • Wrist strength – take a small weight in your hand. It’s important to stabilise your forearm. Hold your wrist over the end of a table and flex up and down and side to side.
  • String on a dowel rod – roll it up and down with a 2-3 lb weight on the end.

19:00 If you have osteoarthritis – don’t push yourself into inflammation and swelling with your rowing practice. Don’t use your thumb to apply internal pressure on the oarlock either if you have osteo.
20:00 How tight should you hold the handles? As if you’re holding a kitten, puppy or a small bird.
23:00 If your forearms wake you up at night feeling restless. You should stretch them.
Do the “Karate Chop” drill on the recovery and Open Palm Sculling drill.
26:00 Trigger finger syndrome can be developed from rowing. The anular ligaments get pulled and swelling happens in the tendons.
28:00 How to train for both speed and endurance simultaneously. If you are doing CRASH-Bs erg race in March and enter the 30 minute and the 500m sprint event.
Follow the Faster Masters Rowing training plan first and foremost – pick the 1k racing plan. If you have extra time include a 40 minute low intensity row or aerobic cross training session.
32:30 Keep the group together – over the holidays stay in touch with your crew mates and become accountability partners. Community matters in masters rowing.