October challenge: Master the rower

Fall is upon us, 9'ers. As of this year, that means the CrossFit Open is upon us, too.

That's right, folks. This year there are TWO Opens.

To get you prepped for the Open, our October challenge will be for you to record as many calories as possible in one minute, following every WOD.

Rowing is one of those movements that shows up. Ever. Single. Open.

So, let's take the next month to get better acquainted with this complex and often misunderstood component of CrossFit.

*But remember, rowing is an entire SPORT. So, don't forget to have a little patience as you learn.

Check out this video (and text) on the basics of rowing, from our friends at Concept 2:
(Hint: Even Firebreathers might learn a thing or two...)

The Catch *(The start of your rowing stroke)

  • Arms are straight; head is neutral; shoulders are level and not hunched.
  • Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders
    in front of the hips.
  • Shins are vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you. Shins should not move beyond perpendicular.
  • Heels may lift as needed.

The Drive

  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs, and then swing the back through the vertical position before finally adding the arm pull.
  • Hands move in a straight line to and from the flywheel.
  • Shoulders remain low and relaxed.

The Finish

  • Upper body is leaning back slightly, using good support from
    the core muscles.
  • Legs are extended and handle is held lightly below your ribs.
  • Shoulders should be low with wrists and grip relaxed. Wrists should be flat.

The Recovery

  • Extend your arms until they straighten before leaning from the hips towards the flywheel.
  • Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.
  • For your next stroke, return to the catch position with shoulders relaxed and shins vertical.

Think you're already rowing like a pro? Check out these common errors and see if you're really as efficient as you think you are: