Erg Technique (Do Not Read This If you Are A Rower)

Have you ever thought that there might be a difference between rowing technique and erging technique?

Is there a difference?
Should there be a difference?

Rowers and Rowing Coaches be warned. You may not like what I’m about to say, but…

Fast erging and fast rowing require different techniques.

The number of technique flavors for rowing boats are as numerous as there are coaches.
But the fundamentals remain the same for most. (basic movements in the drive for maximum propulsion and basic recovery movements for minimum disruption of boat speed)

What about erg technique?

Do you have a different technique for erging?

You should. And here’s why.

Some Rowing Fundamentals Do Not Apply To Erging

  • The sequencing of the hands, body and slide on the recovery is not as important for erg technique because you hold a handle not an oar. And the handle position will not affect your ‘speed’ or ‘balance’.
  • The speed of the seat on the recovery is not important because you don’t have to worry about disrupting the flow of the boat.


Some Rowing Technique Is Essential For Good Erg Technique

  • The sequence of the drive phase (Legs, back, arms) is very important to achieve max power and efficiency on the erg handle (just like rowing).
  • A good drove/recovery ratio is important from a physiological point of view. You need to recover between strokes. And you will perform better when you are in a rhythm.


So What’s The Best Erg Technique?

The most effective and efficient erging technique requires

  • Maximum use of your body positions to lever the handle.
  • The easiest most effective recovery.

Think about these 2 requirements the next time you are erging and see if you can come up with a good system suited to your body, style, fitness, experience and needs.

But it goes without saying that if you are a rower, you should erg like your coach wants you to. If you don’t have a coach you should at least try to erg with a rowing technique leaning towards rowing. (Keep the basic movements on the drive and recovery phase as close to rowing a boat as possible).

All things considered if it’s fast erg technique you’re looking for then consider what I’ve outlined above.

I will write an article very soon on how I think you should erg if rowing technique is not an issue for you.


1 Comment

  1. I am a rower but have only been erging for the last few years because I don’t have the time to commit to a club.
    I would agree with the majority of the article aside from one point:
    “The speed of the seat on the recovery is not important because you don’t have to worry about disrupting the flow of the boat”

    While it’s true that you don’t have to worry about disrupting the consistency of the recovery speed among teammates in a boat, you still don’t want to be rushing up the slide, just to expend a ton of energy to stop yourself at the catch, before you can begin to put any energy into the next stroke.
    One might argue that you cover that in your point about maintaining a good drive:recovery ratio, but I feel the first statement is too wide of a generalization. I think it would be better written as “not as important”, for that specific reason, but to say it’s not important at all seems to contradict the later statement about recovery and rhythm.

    Good points though,

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