The Deadlift and the Rowing Drive

The deadlift is a great lift that rowers can use to hone their technique on the first 3/4 of the drive, especially the initial part of the drive. In the video below, the instructor Brett Jones demonstrates the difference between “pulling” during the initial part of the deadlift and “wedging” yourself between the floor and the KB. Similarly, rowing coaches will coach rowers to push through the hips and core versus pulling with your arms and shoulders.

We are not going to pick our KB up, we are going to shove ourselves underneath of it. (Brett Jones)

We are not going to pull on the handle, we are going to push/shove the boat past the blade. (Rowing Coach)

When Brett lifts the KB the right way, he:

  1. Establishes a strong setup position and grips the handle
  2. Starts the lift by pushing into the floor, trying to wedge underneath the KB
    • He maintains the strong setup position that he had; no upper body movement
  3. The “wedging” creates a good connection between the KB and the floor
    • He maintains this strong connected position and uses it to lift the KB easily. Brett could lift a very heavy weight using this technique.
Brett would be able to use his full power during the drive if he used this technique in the boat. He would be contributing to a fast boat!

When Brett lifts the KB the wrong way, he:

  1. Establishes a strong setup position and grips the handle
  2. Starts the lift by lifting/pulling with his shoulders rather than pushing into the floor
    • He loses the strong setup position that he had
  3. This lifting of or pulling with the shoulders creates a weak connection between the KB and the floor
    • It is more difficult to lift the KB. It would be impossible and/or dangerous to lift a very heavy weight this way.
Brett would not be using his full power during the drive if he used this technique in the boat. He may even slow the boat down!

What rowers can do

  1. Use the deadlift as a warmup to an erg or on-water workout to cue:
    • a strong connection between the handle and the foot board and
    • the proper movement pattern of the drive.
  2. Deadlifts for Rowing | Rowfficient | Episode 10

  3. Use it as a main lift to develop your glutes and core muscles needed on the drive.
  4. https://rowingstronger.com/2018/01/22/the-best-deadlift-for-rowing/

Perfect your technique, row strong!

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