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Rowing: Set up for Power!!!

A Good vs. Bad Catch Position

In our last post, we broke down a good stroke on a Concept 2 Rower. Part of that good stroke involves a powerful set up in the “catch” position. This is the starting position. The power of your drive will be determined by this set up. Do it right, and you maximize your power. Do it wrong and you’ll be chasing power with every stroke.

A Good Catch Position

The catch position is essentially the starting position on the rower. Your knees are bent, your arms are straight, and you are ready to drive back with your legs and pull with your arms.

Here, the name of the game is tension, full body tension. Start with your heels. Heels should be one or slightly hovering over the foot pad (more on that in our next post). Next, you should be leaning slightly forward (think 1 o’clock on a clock face). Above your hips, your back should be flat and your arms should be straight out from your chest.

Compare this position to the bottom of a deadlift. If you were trying to pick up a max load, you would have tension throughout your body ready to support that heavy load. You should have the same feeling in the catch position.

A Bad Catch Position

Without the body position and tension described above, you don’t have a good set up. Aside from feeling a lack of tension on your body, there are some common signs of being in a bad catch position. Your heels may be elevated to the point they contact the seat. You are likely sitting straight up and down, or already leaning back slightly. Finally, your back probably isn’t completely flat and your shoulders are rolled forward.

If this is the case, when you drive back, your butt will probably move first and your upper body will trail behind. By the time your upper body catches up, you’ve lost power in your legs.

To help you see the difference between the two position, check out this video. Here, we show multiple reps of both good and bad catch positions.