Becoming a Stronger Rower Starts at the Gym

Sure, the gym is a perfect substitute for rainy, off-season days. However, there’s more to a gym membership than unlimited access to a rowing machine. Whether you’re preparing for a rowing season or trying to improve the strength of your pull, utilizing anaerobic exercises between rowing sessions can only help you improve. Below, we have included a list of easy and effective exercises to make you a stronger rower.

A deadlift is one of the best single-weight exercises rowers can practice—it mimics the motion of the slide. Begin standing with your knees bent and chest upright. Engage your leg and abdominal muscles to lift the weight off the ground, swinging your back slightly as you extend. Set your arms and shoulders back as you finish. The exercise engages every muscle you use while rowing.

Pull-ups are a universally-dreaded exercise—they seem to broadcast an individual’s strength. However, pull-ups have a bad reputation; they are a useful and simple way to strengthen your upper body. To complete the exercise, pull your body up so that your chin is above what you are holding onto. Your palms should face away from your body. The pull-up engages both back and arm muscles, which translates to strong and consistent finishes in the boat.

Back Squat
Back squats are great for improving the ever-necessary leg strength rowers rely on for strong pulls. It engages muscles similar to a deadlift but emphasizes the upper back and chest. When doing a back squat, be sure to keep your upper back tight, break at the knees, and open up your hips. In practicing this, you ensure proper form and eliminate the potential for injury.