Get fit learning to row

Mens masters quad scull

Getting fit while learning to row and scull is challenging because learning how to handle the oars is more difficult than most people think.

Until you have good bladework skills you will likely find it hard to grow aerobic fitness from your on-water exercise.  Do not get frustrated because we have recommendations. Firstly, you need to get used to being in a rowing boat – this will improve your rowing musculature and improve things like your ability to sit tall, rock from the pelvis and grow callouses on your hands. You need these before you can become rowing fit.

But you can get fit by rowing – we explain how in our podcast episode below.

Faster Masters Rowing Radio – the podcast for masters rowers. Tips, advice and discussion from Marlene Royle and Rebecca Caroe.


04:16 This Past Week – things we do to advocate for and advance masters rowing around the world. The CRASH-Bs had many athletes from Faster Masters racing.
Wayne Lysobey’s book is Long Live Open Water https://amzn.to/30OY2rX

He wrote a poem for Marlene
There once was a man who did row
But when older he found he did slow
So he then did decide
He’d go fast on the slide
Either that or he’d get him a tow

08:00 the foot straps for rowers whose feet don’t fit into big shoes.
There will be a masters Oxford and Cambridge boat race in Auckland on April 11th

11:00 Marlene refurbished her “guest boat” with a new footstretcher and shoes.

14:00 Video what’s inside a Faster Masters Rowing subscription program

Favorite sweep drills

16:00 Our Favorite drills for Sweep 8s
Marlene likes rowing in 4s with the oarlocks open – it teaches how to keep weight into the oarlock.
Rebecca likes rowing with inside hand on the backstay20:00 One drill that we each love to do in the single & in an 8+

Favorite Sculling Drills

Our Favorite drills for Sculling 1x
Marlene likes open fingers on the recovery
Rebecca likes the quarter slide push drill

26:00 Ways to maintain fitness when you are learning to row the single
How to get fit in the single scull if you are a beginner.
Do combination workouts – it’s hard to get up to pressure when you are learning and you may get tired but you won’t get a hard cardio workout. Do hard sessions on the indoor rower.
Run to the club and try to get as many good strokes on the water as you can. Then stop.
Aim to start on the water rowing at the same quality as you came off from the previous outing.
Perfect practice makes perfect.

31:00 Use drills in single scull. These help you embed movement patterns.
Practice alternate strokes firm pressure and easy pressure. Learn how to build pressure in the stroke.
Take breaks – a rest is good as it frees up your mind as well as your body.
36:00 Try shadow rowing on the erg.

Further Resources

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