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Lunging at the Catch


Lunging at the catch is the most common mistake masters rowers make.

The forward angle of the back should be established out of the release and remain constant as you float over the toes. When there is too much forward-body movement into the catch, the drive phase of the stroke is often initiated with the arms and back.

To work on this, find a partner to grab the erg handle you’re holding and pull you forward from a relaxed recovery position. Stay relaxed and feel the proper sequence as you are pulled sternward–hands leading the shoulders, knees moving up and back over the toes, but not beyond.

The so-called “turtle drill” is another way to tackle this technical shortcoming. Begin at the catch and push with the legs before adding the arms, keeping the back in the forward body position.  Repeat.

This drill will force you to initiate the drive with the legs and not with the back. Many will find it difficult, but none more so than those for whom it has been designed: chronic lungers.

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