Rowing Machine: Why You Should NEVER Forget this Body Part


– It is extremely
important that you never, never forget this one body
part when you are on the rower, and that is your feet. Technically, I guess
that’s two body parts. I’m Shane Farmer. This is Dark Horse Rowing, and today, we’re gonna learn about how your feet are the access point to unlocking new power in your stroke. (upbeat music) Your feet play a
surprisingly important role in the stroke for a number
of different reasons, and today, I wanna make sure
that we get to that quickly so that you can get using
your feet more effectively on the machine. So quickly, what do the feet do for you? Well, A, they’re your attachment point, but so much more important than that, they dictate your approach angle, your catch angle, your drive angle. How you are actually pushing through them is a big determinant of what kind of force you’re
gonna be able to drive and what muscles you can recruit, and they can also be a
linchpin if you’re in a workout that has multiple rounds
or you need to get on and off the machine. So let’s tackle all of those and make sure that you’re doing it right. These are five simple steps
that you can do to fix your feet on the machine and make
sure you’re using ’em right. First and foremost, how do
you adjust these things, and what is right ’cause that’s a critical first step, number one, making sure
that when you’re connected to the machine it, you’re
connected properly. Well, that part’s easy. You’re going to set these guys so you can move them up or down, and this goes for any machine, so that the strap runs across
the widest part of your foot. You can think like bottom
shoelace is a good target, but just that wide,
meaty part of your foot, that’s where you want the strap to run. For me, that’s a four on a Concept 2. I make sure they’re adjusted. Then when I tie in, I make sure those straps
are nice and tight and snug. That is step number one. Make sure you tackle that before you go and do anything else. Number two is don’t lift your heels. Now, let me take a step back
from that and explain why. The majority of errors
that you find in somebody who’s getting on this
machine for the first time or as they’re learning stem from not being in control at the catch position. When you lift the heel, if I’m in the machine, and I lift my heel, it causes a host of problems, like my seat to scoot closer to my butt, or it forces me to open
early when I’m driving. It causes all of these problems, and therefore, what we’ve learned is that if you can keep your heels down when you’re learning the movement, you will learn how to press
through your whole foot, and it will also help you learn what your right catch position is. Once you’ve learned that
and that’s locked in like solid steel, now you can add in a little bit of heel flash because you’re
doing it with intention, not as a byproduct of
not knowing positions. So don’t lift those heels
when you’re learning. As you’re getting into
this, keep that heel down, and with that heel down, try to get as much
compression as possible. If you need to get deeper, don’t do it by lifting the
heels or splaying the knees out or rounding the back. You simply do it by trying to
compress with good position. Number three is the push. We put push on everything. Push, don’t pull. It’s on our T-shirts, but
what does that really mean? Well, there are a couple
things that you need to know when it comes to pushing the machine away. First off, the application of pressure through your feet
is a roll-on of pressure. Now what do I mean by that? Well, as you’re taking your stroke, if you allow those heels
to lift a little bit and even if you don’t, you wanna initiate that press
of the foot from the ball of the foot, rolling to midfoot, and then pressing through the entire foot, and that’s what I mean by roll-on. You’re almost like rolling your foot down and into the pressure. Now, that is how you initiate. You initiate through the ball
of the foot, roll to midfoot, then press the remainder
through the entire foot, always making sure that at the backside, the release position or
the end of the drive, you need full contact
with your feet because without driving through the heels, your posterior chain can’t engage, and generally, if that’s happening, you’re ending up with
this kind of a stroke, where the heels never touch, and you’re never using the
entire leg to drive force. So that is the roll on
that I’m talking about. Now, the next piece on the
push is that there is a need for both a vertical and a horizontal push. Imagine that this is at 45 degrees. It’s actually closer to 42, but when I go to drive, if I’m connecting through the whole foot, it’s almost as if the
foot stretcher is trying to push me that way, not that way. What that means is that
I should have an element of vertical drive and horizontal, and that’s going to make the difference in allowing me to engage my
whole leg so that if I brace and I pushed through the foot properly, that that connection point creates the accurate results I’m
looking for on the drive. Next is the quick release, and why does that even matter? How is that even a part
of the rowing discussion? Well, because this is a fitness tool. It’s used for the purposes of workouts in CrossFit gyms, at Orangetheory, at F45, and for rowing teams around the world. Now, if there’s ever a workout in which you need to transition from this machine to something else and be able to come back and
not waste time in transition, then the quick release is the answer, and especially in workouts, you find that people waste a ton of time just getting in
and out of the machine, and it’s a very simple fix. Here’s what you’re going to do. Number one, you’re gonna
take your hands, put ’em up. Hands up. Next, you’re gonna grab
the foot stretcher. You’re gonna place your
thumb on the buckle, and you’re going to press the buckle out. Now, this is where most people stop, and then they try to sneak out, and then one foot inevitably gets stuck, and when I go to get back in, there’s not much space for
me to get into the machine. So instead, what you’re going to do is, grabbing the foot stretcher,
thumb on the buckle, press the buckle out. Here, you’re gonna essentially
anchor that buckle in place, and you will extend your
legs, pulling your toes to your face like you’re
doing a toe touch, and what that does is it
loosens the straps a ton, and then you go toes up, heels out. That’s the quick release. Now when I come back to the
machine ready for my next round, I can go feet in, no
problem, grab my straps, tighten ’em down, and I’m
away on my next piece. That quick release,
however silly it may seem, if you practice that
and get that down pat, you will never get out of the
machine another way again, and you’ve saved yourself a ton
of time with just your feet, (truck whirring and beeping) (seat rubbing) (machine whirring) and number five is feel. Now why is feel so important? Well, A, you have a
lot of tactile feedback that comes from your feet, and you may not be aware of that, but if you start spending
time without your shoes on, you’ll start to find that your feet develop
this incredible feel for what’s underneath you, but more importantly, the feet, when it comes to this machine, are so responsible for the
way that we are learning because we are applying
pressure in different ways, and as we’re learning this process, if you don’t know what
your feet are doing, you’re not gonna be able
to know what the rest of your body is doing, and so by gaining a feel,
by spending time listening to your feet, and that
may sound super hippie, but that’s the truth, the more time you can listen to your feet on this machine and know
whether or not you’re on your toes and know whether or not you’re placing your heels to push, it will have a profound impact on the way that you are approaching the stroke and how that stroke reacts
to the different ways in which your feet are
applying force to the machine or helping you apply force to the machine. So get working on your feet. What are you waiting for? This is like the easiest fix you can make. Just give some attention to this area that you’ve probably never thought about because you were looking
at the whole big picture, and if we can give you this
one small win, take it. I think you’re gonna find
it has big ramifications in the way that you’re
moving on this machine, and you’re gonna enjoy
that workout a lot more. So as always, guys, thanks
so much for hanging out. I really appreciate it. If you love this, make
sure that you subscribe and hit that little bell next to it so you get alerted when we
come out with new videos, but other than that,
thanks for hanging out. I love you all. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for tuning in, and as always, we’ll see you on the other side. Later. (upbeat music) Hey, thanks for watching the video. If you enjoyed this, and
you’re looking for more, and you want workouts, continuous coaching from
me and my other coaches in our private Facebook community, it’s our monthly workout program. It’s $39 a month. Just go over to
darkhorserowing.com/athlete
to sign up now. (upbeat music) (truck whirring and beeping) They are staging 75
feet from me right now, (truck whirring and beeping) and they never shut these things… There are like four tractors, and they just, if one’s
not going, there’s another. They don’t take a rest. (truck whirring and beeping) (sighing)

9 Replies to “Rowing Machine: Why You Should NEVER Forget this Body Part”

  1. Have you thought about mentioning wearing what some would call "minimum lift" shoes? Seems like most shoes have an elevated heel, and a lot of cushion – which may absorb at least a small part of your push against the machine.

  2. Aha! I got MUCH clearer about how that heel business affects what’s going on in my pelvis. Thanks as always!!

  3. What do you think about lower price made-for-home use machines that have a swivel joint for the footrest (or I don't know what it's name is in English)? Are they worse by any means, and should they be anchored down, or is it okay as long as I keep what you said in the video?

  4. I've watched you jump into those foot straps and out again so quickly so many times and I've wondered how the heck you do it. Thanks!!! I've been struggling and fumbling but will practice the heck out of how you showed how to do it and move on from there. BTW, speaking of your parents, GREAT job that they're trying to be active and keep moving. I attended a 4wk training class on Avoiding Falls for the elderly (which they let me in not for my age but because I was really struggling with balance issues). We were put through strength and balance training. 5yrs later I'm still 'training' and while my balance itself still isn't great, I'm strong enough to only have near misses these days. I'm only 57 going on 30. 😀

  5. Shane, thanks so much for these videos. There truly is a “connection” to the machine and you more than anyone speak so clearly to the dividends that accrue from strengthening that connection.

  6. One area I’m still not clear on is drag factor. You’ve made some good vids on this but I’m still unclear how it relates to distance per stroke. For example, if I select a higher drag factor, and assuming I maintain the same stroke rate as I did on a lower drag factor, do I go further on each stroke at that higher drag factor?

  7. The quick release isn't possible if you have a stomach in the way. You can't grab or even reach your feet. Or that could be a busty problem. I have both. I have to leave at least one foot's strap loose so I'm not trapped.

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