Plyometric exercises are common in training programs to develop muscular power. Power will develop together with strength in beginner strength training, but more experienced athletes may need specific training for power development. Power, or rate of force development, is important for rowers who want to get the most out of each stroke, especially those rowing eights with an emphasis on early drive force. Using plyometrics for rowers requires an understanding of what physical qualities we’re trying to train, which plyometric exercises are most appropriate for the level of athlete, and how to add challenge to match athlete progression. In this article, I will review the rowing-specific plyometric research, apply general research on plyometrics from other training resources, and provide practical recommendations on plyometric teaching progression, exercise selection, and training for rowers of different levels and ages.
Key Points: Plyometrics for rowers can be safe and effective for improving rowing performance, as long as they are properly planned, instructed, and programmed with the rest of rowing training and strength training. Rowing research indicates that plyometrics can improve peak power in a short-duration erg test, 500-meter time, and detailed power characteristics like drive speed. In order to use plyometrics for rowers, we must have a safe landing space (ie. not concrete), good landing technique to absorb impact safely, an understanding of why plyometrics exist to train power (not endurance), and ideas of what plyometric exercises we can use for rowers of different strengths, competitive levels, and ages.
Table of Contents
- Plyometric Goals and General Info
- Plyometrics in Rowing Research
- How NOT to Use Plyometrics for Rowers
- Plyometric Exercise Progression
- Programming and Progressing
- Plyometrics for Youth and Masters Rowers
- Wrap Up: Plyometrics for Rowers