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Summary of what I've learned about proper form

  • Leaning over too far at the catch can cause lower back pain.
  • Bending your knees outside of your arms can cause knee pain.
  • at the catch your knees should not go further forward than vertical.
  • You should not go up on your toes at the catch.
  • try to use my arm / wrist / hand muscles as little as possible, because they get tired much more quickly than my legs / back muscles
  • try to externally rotate your shoulders and flex your lower back to allow your legs to drive more.
  • Try to keep your back straight.
  • Don't row barefoot because the straps will scrub off the skin of your pinky toes.

Personal Records


  • 7:28 (average of 1:52/500m) at a water-resistance of "8" on a Concept-2


  • 2015.08.30 - PR: 15:17.8 at a water resistance of "6"

Other times

  • 2015.05.07 - (beaten) PR: 15:24.5  (average of 1:55.56 / 500m)
  • 2015.06.03 - 15:35.1 (average of 1:56.88 / 500m) - Water resistance of 8


  • (Undated, probably early 2015) - Sat / Mon / Thurs I do a 4,000 meter row on a Concept2. For the one I did today, I finished with a time of 16:04 (or 2:00.5 per 500m). I've been using a water-resistance level of 8 but it looks like your time is based on your total power output, so I don't think it should be necessary to keep the water-resistance-level constant in order to gauge your progress over time(?).
  • 2015.04.26 - I woke up with lower-back pain after rowing a 4k yesterday morning. I should have watched Concept2's advice on proper technique. After looking at their videos, my guess is that this lower-back pain was probably caused by me over-reaching at the catch. However, I was also leaning back past the 11 o'clock position, so that may also be part of it. On a probably-unrelated note, I've also probably been extending my shins past the vertical (ie sliding my seat too far forward for the catch). And in past sessions I had my knees bending outside of my arms, which is not right (it can cause knee pain, as I learned the hard way).
  • 2015.05.07 - Took 200mg of caffeine ~15 mins before starting, did a 4k in 15:24.5, shaving off like 30 secs from my previous PR. My form also felt WAY better after having spent last session practicing my form. I wasn't leaning over past 1 o'clock at the catch, I was stopping my slide forward as soon as I felt myself roll up onto my toes, and I was stopping my lean back at 11 o'clock. I had a higher row rate this time, before I was like at 15 strokes / minute, now I was something around 23. [Update @ 12:45pm: I now have a cough that feels like I may have breathed in some dust while I was exercising. I also feel like I've lost a lot of the 'high' I felt at 10-11am.]
  • 2016.02.16 - I've been rowing again and I recently finally felt like I understood how to row properly.
    • For a long time I couldn't understand why you were supposed to only lean back after extending your legs all the way.
    • Recently I've been "externally rotating my shoulders" (as my CrossFit trainers would say), where I keep my arms forward but I try to pull my shoulders back and down as much as possible, so that my back muscles are flexed as much as possible.
    • I've discovered that if I do this while leaning forward at the catch, and also flexing my lower back, I can turn my legs, lower back, and shoulders into an unmoving single thing(?). It's hard to explain but basically it allows me to use my leg muscles to drive a lot harder without having it just have me lean over further, which was happening before. Before my back and legs and arms felt disconnected or loosely connected.
    • However, I also found yesterday that it's very important to totally relax my shoulder and lower back muscles during the "recovery" (sliding back to the catch). Otherwise my back muscles get tired very quickly from being flexed nonstop.
    • I've also found that it's important for me to try to use my arm / wrist / hand muscles as little as possible, because they get tired much more quickly than my legs / back muscles. So I just try to relax my arms / wrist totally during the catch and let them lock out.


  • 2020.03.05 - 10:00.6 (1:55/500m). I was going for a 1:50 split but got tired around 800m out and had to stop and go to catch my breath and spit.  I got back on the erg and finished the 2K and still managed to average a pretty good split.