Rowers often refer to strength training as a key component to their training rituals, but it’s only one element to a successful row. Flexibility, core strength, and breathing are practiced through yoga, and can dramatically improve a rowers performance and recovery.
A rower’s flexibility and strength are equally important, and require a balance. When one is not properly tuned, it hinders the other. A perfect stroke is achieved through the concept of both these aspects.
Here are a few key muscle groups that rely on flexibility and how they affect rowing performance:
Shoulders – Improving shoulder flexibility, increases mobility of key areas (rotator cuff), and lengthens the arm to achieve a longer stroke.
Hips – Flexible hips equals better stability and balance, and is effective for knee and leg stiffness. Yoga provides proper mobility and flexibility, so your hips can properly rock over.
Hamstrings – Tight hamstrings affect your drive and mobility, and can contribute to back issues. Not loosening hamstrings will result in opening up too soon on the drive.
Ankles – Decreased flexibility with ankles can cause over reaching at the catch, with improper compression.
Rowing requires the use of multiple muscle groups that work succinctly to achieve a powerful and long stroke. When one muscle group is not working at full potential, it affects the other groups. Yoga is not just flexibility, it also provides strength to these muscle groups and your core.
Our core, is the center balance of all our muscle groups combined with force and stability. One of the many ways core strength improves performance, is preventing an overreach at the catch.
Yoga inspires our core muscles to develop and strengthen properly in a way that is more gentle than regular strength training. Core strength is important, as our core performance affects all of our muscle activity and our balance. When our muscles are not performing properly, it may results in injury.
In conjunction with flexibility and strength, yoga decreases recovery time and increases focus. Proper posture awareness and breathing patterns through Yoga practice will dramatically increase your performance.
*As with all exercises in conjunction with medical conditions, you should always be advised by your doctor before performing a new routine.