Friday, January 30, 2009

Jack of All Trades

Like Marit and Lindsay, I too participated on the crew team in college. Unlike the two of them (I think) I didn't row. I was a coxswain. That does not mean I sat in the boat and yelled at the rowers. I steered the boat and encouraged my athletes and made sure we won our races. And we did. It was also important for me to know how to row. Often times, the coxswain was the one doing the coaching.

To learn how to row my coaches put me on an erg machine and taught me the basics.

Yesterday I put those to good use. Coach is really trying find different ways to develop my muscles and become a better runner without getting me injured. I totally appreciate that. The workout she gave me was 10 minutes of warm-up on the rowing machine followed by 5 X (3 core exercises + 5 minutes of rowing). (Could I be more of an engineer when I write a word problem like that?)

Well, that 10 minutes just wasn't going to happen. Instead I did 6 X 5 minutes with 3 exercises in between each 5 minute segment. Let's just say this...IT WAS HARD! By the end my arms were screaming and I think my lats might have lit fire.

My favorite part of rowing at the gym was watching the other people row. I helped a mother and daughter on their form because they had NO idea what they were doing. Then this little woman sat down right next to me and I thought she knew what she was doing because why else would she sit right beside me when there were 4 other ergs open. Seriously, it was the funniest thing I've ever seen. When she came forward on the slide, she ducked her head way down and put her chest on her knees. Then she would come all the way back and bring the handle up to her face. Dude, it had to be hurting her back. It was hurting mine just watching her. I think they need to conduct classes and have sign-offs to make sure people know how to correctly row and so they don't hurt themselves on the equipment.

Next time you're at the gym you should really give rowing a try. Here's how to do it:

Strap your feet in so that the straps are across the top of the feet closer to your toes than the middle of your feet. Grab the handle with your hands in the middle of each side. Sit up straight with your knees bent and your seat all the way to the top of your slide (by your feet). Push back until your legs are straight, your torso is still upright, and your arms are now straight with handle in hand. Then bend your arms and bring the handle into your check right around the bottom of your rib cage (more like solar plexus area). Simultaneously, rock back so your body is a little less than 45 degrees but you still have erect posture (he he!). Then sit up 90 degrees. Release your arms out, bend your knees and move up your slide to your feet. Of course, this is done a lot more quickly than what I just wrote. The most important part is to let your legs and back do the work, not your arms. And also importantly, keep good posture!

Here's a little demonstration I found on You Tube.


Molly said...

LOL! I was a coxswain too. Glad to hear you had a good workout!

lindsay said...

oh boy rowing memories ;) i was/am too tall and too fat to be a coxswain, and i don't think i could've effectively helped correct anyone's form. at least not in a timely manner while rowing across a lake. i've actually been missing it/thinking of it lately, and wish i had some way of getting to do it just once in a blue moon. i only live about 1.5 hours from the school but i just don't think the AD would really go for it. plus, i'd rather take out at least a 2- or 4- boat as i'm quite sure i'd tip a single scull :) maybe one day i'll find an erg around these parts, even though i HATED that darn machine most mornings. (i'd always try to nudge my 'resistance' thing lower before driving my legs back. haha)

ahh enough reminiscing for me. glad you had a good workout and were able to help some folks get a decent one in themselves, but next time i think you should get someone to stand in front of you and yell... i mean encourage :)