Steve Tague gripping Concept2 Rowing machine handle at Rowed to Fitness Personal Training in Bend Oregon

How to Grip the Handle on the Rowing Machine

Get a Grip! A more efficient grip on the rowing machine handle.

Whether you are just learning to row on the Concept2 rowing machine, or you’re a competitive rower, conserving energy is an important for an efficient rowing stroke. Every little bit counts, including how you grip the handle on the rowing machine.

Hold your arm out in front of you and make a tight fist. Squeeze hard, like you’re holding on to something really tight. Do you feel the energy being used to make that fist? Can you feel how your hand and arm start to tire? Now, hold your arm out like you’re holding the handle on the rowing machine and just curl your fingers to form a hook. Do you feel the difference?

Squeezing the handle tight is not going to make you faster. In fact, if you are squeezing tight you may be pulling too much with your arms. If done correctly, the rowing stroke is a smooth powerful movement with power generated from the drive with your legs and connecting with the hinge at your hips.

With your arms out straight, relaxed shoulders and engaged lats (your large back muscles), a good hook with your hand around the handle is all you need to transfer all of that energy from your drive into the rowing machine. The finish of the stroke with your arms is roughly 10-15% of the stroke, and should almost feel as if the handle is flying back to your chest if you’ve delivered the power correctly.

Squeezing the handle too tightly creates an, “energy leak,” which will waste some of that precious energy needed to finish that 2k strong! So loosen up! Get a grip – a more efficient grip.

For more tips, pics and adventures, follow me on Instagram @rowedtofitness, and on Facebook at Rowed2Fitness, or join me on one of the Rowed to Fitness programs!

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