Shakira would have been a great rower, I just know it. Girl can swing some hips and that’s exactly what you need to do to get power out of your rowing stroke. If you’ve taken my class, you’ll often her me say, “Position yourself from 11-1”. Of course, I’m talking about back angle at the catch and finish of each stroke. I see people working harder than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, but they sacrifice power because they don’t use their hips efficiently during the drive of the stroke, or prepare well for the next stroke.
Think about a deadlift for a second. At the bottom, shoulders are in front of the bar and back angle is set. As you bring the bar up your shins, you maintain that back angle until the knees, and then you use your hips to open up and finish the pull. On the way down, you close (flex) your hips until the bar hits your knees, then you lower with the legs. The same goes with the rowing stroke. At the catch, your back angle is in a closed position with shoulders in front of hips. As you draw back with the handle, you maintain a somewhat closed back angle, pushing hard with the legs, until the handle crosses the knee at which time you swing your hips open and finish the stroke with your arms. As you recover back toward the flywheel, you close your hips and after the handle crosses the knee, you bend your knees and glide into the catch.
If you don’t close those hips, you’ll never get the power you need for the next stroke. And that would be dumb. Your hips don’t lie and neither does the monitor, so harness that hip power by setting your back angle. You’ll be rewarded with effortless meters.