The squat is one of the most important exercises in strength training for rowing. Done correctly, the squat and its variations build lower body strength and power in a way that cannot be replicated by rowing and erging alone. In this complete guide to squatting for rowing, we’ll break down the importance of the squat, variations of the squat that I use in rowing training, and how to train the squat throughout the year to build to peak performance.
This is what I would do if I could only do 10 exercises for rowing strength training. In reality, I use more variations of our basic exercises of the squat, hinge, push, and pull movements, plus exercises for the core, shoulder, and hip muscles. However, these 10 exercises are a great starting point for strength training for rowing. In this article, we’ll go through each one with how it improves rowing performance, reduces risk of common rowing injuries, and how I use it in my rowing strength training programs.
Here’s a brief overview on my rowing strength training philosophy to set up these exercises. Rowers need strength training for the muscles that contribute to rowing performance to increase force output in the rowing movement. Rowers also need strength training for the non-rowing muscles that are underdeveloped by the rowing stroke to improve muscle balance and reduce risk of injury. We do some form of strength training year-round in my coaching with rowers of all ages, types, and levels. We build strength, power, and muscle mass during “off-seasons” or times of decreased rowing training and racing. We then train to maintain strength, power, and muscle mass when we focus on rowing performance during “in-season” or race prep training. We’ll stick to the exercise details in this article, but I’ve written a lot about how to combine the exercises in a strength training program elsewhere on my website. Start with “The Basics of Strength Training for Rowing” and read on from there.