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  • Writer's pictureAllan Jr Kestenbaum

TO ROW OR NOT TO ROW? THAT, is the question

Shit, why the fuck not?


But Allan, rowing sucks, I don't think I even do it well, and did I mention… Rowing sucks??!


I get it… I hear you… Yeah, rowing isn't easy. Rowing decent takes intentional effort. Rowing proficiently takes months, if not years of practice and is a notable achievement. Let’s face it, we don’t come out of the womb on a Concept2 Rower, so the movement pattern is, well… let’s just say it’s a bit unnatural… so I don’t blame you for not doing it “well.” I’ve seen hundreds, maybe even close to thousands of people row at my gym and at commercial gyms. I can honestly say that maybe 1, and that’s being generous, actually knew how to row properly.


Rowing well takes time, dedication, consistency, and intentional effort. There are many things that you need to focus on. From the way your feet are on the foot plates to where the damper is set. Reminding yourself to brace your core, drive through your heels, extend your knees, then your hips and then pull with your arms. Pull the handle towards the bottom of your chest. Return the handle in a straight line making sure the chain path does not wobble. Exhale on your drive, inhale on your return. Ensure to tilt forward when you get to the "catch". The list goes on, and on, and on, and on.


Sorry, I got sidetracked there for a second… So why rowing? Well, because, if you learn how to do this well, it will make you better at a lot of other stuff inside and outside the gym. Rowing is very technical. There are an infinite number of ways to row… terribly that is, but there is only one way to do it correctly. And by correct, I mean efficient. If the mechanics are off, it's going to be difficult to get good at rowing because you are leaking inefficiency.


I’m sure you already workout. There's a good chance that you are doing deadlifts. The reason you are doing deadlifts is probably because you want a nicer butt (sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not really the best exercise to build your butt, and no, it's not RDLs either, maybe lunges or hip thrusts, but not deadlifts, but that's another article). The main reason you should be doing deadlifts is because you want a strong and powerful posterior chain. But what’s a posterior chain and where can I buy one then? You can't buy it silly goose, your body already comes with one, and it’s your performance kinetic chain. Any movement that requires power, strength, explosiveness, etc. comes from the posterior chain, in layman terms, those are the muscles on the backside of your body. The muscles on the front of your body are for “show.” The muscles on the back of your body are your "LETS FUCKING GO!” muscles


Sorry, I got sidetracked (again!)… You know what's so awesome about rowing? It's literally just like deadlifting (yup, you’re training those “LETS FUCKING GO!” muscles already), with a little twist to it, which I call “deadlifting” with a high pull. Now, If you're already relatively proficient at deadlifting, you can probably start rowing “well” pretty quickly! Rowing will teach you how to balance your whole foot better when deadlifting. It will also teach you how to breathe better during a deadlift. And the more you row well, the better you will deadlift. It will teach you to remain calm when doing any other sort of exercise in the gym that involves that powerful posterior chain… If you can row for 5 minutes and not die, while keeping a decent pace, you'll be able to control your breathing doing anything and everything else with so much ease. Fun fact, if you row for about 5 minutes, it's literally like doing about 100-150 reps worth of work vs maybe 40 reps in about an hour if you are deadlifting (talk about bang for your buck huh). And, if you're doing it well, you're not just getting your reps in, you're getting better A LOT faster at deadlifting than just doing deadlifts alone, and vice versa.


Oh! And another thing that drives me fucking bananas… Please, please, please!!!! If you are ever going to get on a rower at the gym, don't do the same shit I see 99% of people that don't know how to use a rower do.


What’s that, Allan?


Please bro, please don't jack the damper up to “10” before or even after taking a seat because you think you're going to be getting a better workout. Chances are, you don't even know what THE FUCK the damper is used for on the rower. Leave it around 3 or 4. Here’s another fun fact for you… Professional rowers, like the people that do this as a sport or for a living, set their world records with the damper set around 3 to 4.


Now, you have two options, you can go to the Tube and see how to actually row, or you can hit me up by shooting me a DM and I can SHOW YOU how to do it correctly. Now, go do you, and have a great day 🤙


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