PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
Week 1: Go long. Head out for extended rows at low stroke rates and with firm pressure on the paddle. Rowing at a rate of 24 or lower helps engrain movements and makes it easier to make technical adjustments.
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Week 2: Focus on controlling the recovery and perfecting the proper sequence. This begins with the hands coming away, and then the knees rise, the back swings to the correct body-over position, the hands roll the blade square, and the blade is dropped into the water with slight lift from the shoulders.
Week 3: Shift your attention to the drive, initiating this phase of the stroke with the legs and accelerating throughout. Be sure not to begin the drive with the arms or back. The legs are stronger. The arms and back should be transferring the power of the legs to the blade.
Week 4: Clean up your release. As the hands approach the chest, continue to pull strongly until near the chest, then push down with the outside hand, feather, and relax your shoulders and arms.
Week 5: Revisit the subtle movements of the stroke through the catch, finish, and release.
Week 6: Get race-ready. Practice racing starts and shifts to body pace. Incorporate power 10s, short bursts, and the finish sprint.