Why use weight training?
Weight training is one of the best ways to improve your power in the boat, and a great support to ergo training and core training. The exercises below are some of the most useful ones for rowing but there are lots of variations, including using kettle bells, exercise balls, or bands.
This is a brief guide to useful exercises, with a basic routine being 3 x 20 reps of leg exercises, and 3 x 10 reps on arm/back exercises, building up weight over time so that you can only just complete the last set of reps. However far more complex routines to support phases of training are available.
As with any training, we advise getting professional advice when starting weight training (the heavier the weights the more this is advised) and with heavier weights to also consider training in pairs/using gym machines for safety.
For the catch – driving off the legs:
Squats – whether with a bar across the shoulders, across the chest, or dumbbells in each hand. Keeping back straight and starting in sturdy standing position (feet hip width apart) aiming to reach a squat by bending knees, with thighs parallel to the floor or a bit lower i.e. a deep squat. Thrust up from this position to the starting position.
Lunges – with dumbbells in each hand, step forward with one leg and lunge until the knee almost touches the floor, rising up to starting position with control, alternating sides.
Leg press – using the machine at the gym to push away through both legs feet hip width apart, with a focus on power at the start of the lift.
For the drive – opening the body, using the core:
Deadlifts – legs bent, straight back, lifting weight from floor level to body upright and legs straight. Lower gently and in controlled manner.
Sit ups with weights – using a medicine ball or other weight clasped to chest, sit ups as normal.
For the finish – arms and back:
Bench press – lying face up either on a bench, or with your shoulders on an exercise ball and your hips in the air, using either a bar or separate dumbbells, press the weights from chest height to straight arms. Lower gently and repeat.
Reverse fly – legs slightly bent, feet apart, bending forward from waist so back is parallel to floor, with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the weights from lowered, relaxed position to shoulder height by raising arms out to sides (like wings), lower in controlled fashion and repeat.
Tricep lift – standing tall, put one arm straight up in air holding (usually quite a light) weight. Keeping the elbow high and upper arm vertical, lower the weight with your forearm to behind your head, lift and repeat
Lat pulldown – using gym machine, sitting tall, pull bar down from above head to chest height (in front of chest, not behind head), and repeat.
If you feel any pain, discomfort or twinges – STOP! It’s much better to build up weights over time safely.