What happens when a rower leans?

What happens when a rower leans?

Post by sull » Thu, 07 Mar 2013 06:47:30

> Op dinsdag 5 maart 2013 19:49:17 UTC+1 schreef sully het volgende:

> > > I'm not following this. ? If the rower is leaning to port, he has his

> > > weight on his right ***cheek, not his left. ? (port= left

> > > side of boat as facing to bow).

> > I'm still confused folks, help me out. ? ?Is it so obvious that John

> > meant

> > weighting the opposite cheek than he states above me here?

> > If I lean to port, I'm unweighting my left cheek, and weighting

> > my right. ? right?

> > I'm ROWING, not coxing! ?right?

> > Am I having a major senior moment and have my port/stbd

> > confused?

> I had to do a double take as well after which I concluded he meant that to get your weight on the right asscheek you first create momentum by pressing down your left asscheek. Kind of like standing on one side of a raft and running running to the other side; the raft initially moves in the opposite direction of the run and after the running stops, drifts in the same the direction of the run. All a bit far fetched and judging by the post that just appeared whilst I was typing this it is in fact not what he meant. So now I am basically just as confused as you are.

> I still stand by my previous point though: your body is not in an optimal position for rowing so it is per se a bad thing to lean.

Oh, I agree for sure, but the conversation had gotten pretty detailed
and technical, but the basic premise as stated seemed wrong.

It is almost universal that sweep rowers will have a lean away
from their riggers,  even if it's visibly imperceptible, IE if you
look down from the stern of the boat and the heads seemed
lined up at the finish.

Rowers, for the most part, must be taught otherwise.

Learning how to finish properly,  balance the boat with the
bladework and not the body is a long process, something
that a few sessions of work and some miles is going to
teach.    In the meantime, I have an outing I recommend
that at the very least, helps rowers to not be defensive
in the sweep boat, and do things that interfere with
their or others' learning process - it's fun and effective.

I have a "lean contest".   Pair, four, eight, doesn't matter
which boat.

Step 1.  be able to row with a pause at the finish.
          with others balancing boat for you,  lean
          radically into the rigger at the finish, make it
          extreme.    Row by pairs in a four/eight, or
          circles in a pair.

Step 2.  now try it rowing all.   Pause at finish leaning
          radically into your rigger.    Make a contest of
          it.  Your side WINS if the boat is down to your
          rigger.     If the boat is leaning to port, portside
          wins.   Have fun with this exercise.
Step 3.  make the lean less extreme, but make it
         definite so that from the stern, you as coach
         can tell.  The heads should be split as you look
         from stern to bow,  where the head is on the side
         of the keel as that rowers' rigger.   If the boat
         leans to that side,  let it lean, don't try to
         correct that stroke.
Step 4.
         Coach the people that
         if the boat leans to their side,  finish a little
         higher on the next stroke, but don't
         compensate by leaning.    The high
         side after Step 2 should feel some
         responsibility to bring the boat level.

This outing is very effective for a short term,  the
natural pressure over time is that some rowers
will become defensive again,  particularly if they've
been rowing defensively for a long time.

A great many other things go into a good
finish, but this step gives them a chance at
it, and gives other athletes a chance!


What happens when a rower leans?

Post by Carl » Thu, 07 Mar 2013 10:37:26


>> And there's always a bit of self-kidology in the idea of transferring
>> weight from one cheek to t'other.  You can only do this if you
>> correspondingly shift your own CofG towards that side.  I think that
>> implies a small, hard-to-see but real lean.

> More like a bit of self-kideology in thinking of the body without awareness of its anatomy.  The spine meets the pelvis in a "joint" which allows swiveling of the hips up/down (and forward and back).  It's not a ball joint but it may help to think of it that way.  Rotations of the pelvis enable us to walk and run without weaving back and forth with our upper bodies.

> Try sitting in a chair facing a wall.  It's quite easy to transfer weight from one sitzbone to the other by rotating the pelvis without moving head or upper body.  No leaning.  Same thing can be done in a boat to weight one side or the other.  Or one can consciously keep equal weight in both sitzbones to try to maintain the set when the boat is level.

I'm not disagreeing with how it's done, John.  Maybe it's more a matter
of when in the stroke cycle?  To shift your weight to one side requires
you to shift your upper body's CofG that way, or else the weight ain't

Let's consider what happens when you swivel your hips?  Sit on a chair,
as I'm now doing, & rotate the pelvis (which happens at about the L5
vertebra.  This moves your torso in the direction of that rotation as
the pelvis rolls, which does indeed plant the weight more onto the
buttock towards which the pelvis is rotated, but not without first
generating a reaction in the opposite to intended direction - that
providing the force to shift the torso sideways.

However, I think there's no real difference between us.  The
counter-reaction matters most if the adjustment is made during the
recovery.  The righting moment of the blades when they're immersed will
help to damp that counter-reaction over the space of 1 stroke,
whereafter the weight has indeed been displaced towards the one cheek.
But the price is a tilt in the spine at ~ L5, which would be best avoided.

What we often find (when making customised seats for the many rowers
pained by the obvious fact that no one seat can accommodate the wide
anatomical differences between individual rowers) is that many rowers &
scullers naturally sit with most of their weight over one or other of
the ischeal protuberances or sit-bones.  No great surprise, since we're
all quite asymmetric everywhere from face down to feet, but I believe
this has significant consequences for individual & crew balance.

Thus, when I see a greater load under a sculler's right buttock than
their left, I'll ask if they find the boat runs level for them, or if
it's harder to keep that blade off the water.  They often agree.  But
this fact of life is not well understood within the sport.  Thus I've
had scullers being told they need to re-rig with one rigger higher & the
other lower than makes sense - because it has been seen they've problems
clearing the water with one blade.  That makes no sense if the boat is
already correctly rigged (e.g. level or with ~1cm differential in
height).  But tilting the seat in the boat by the right amount - often
no more that 2-3mm under one or other slide track r seat bearer - can
instantly bring the boat onto an even keel.

We ought to think more carefully about what happens with oddly-shaped
folk in narrow boats.  The potentially best rowers may well be deflected
from our sport by narrow attitudes which fail to grasp that individual
bodily imbalances can & should be addressed as an integral part of the
coaching process.

Cheers -

Carl Douglas Racing Shells        -
     Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
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