Learn More About Rowing

By Amanda Roland
More About Rowing

Rowing is a water sport that involves a long, skinny boat, or shell, that is propelled by a team using paddles, or oars. A rowing shell can hold teams of even numbers from two rowers to eight rowers, depending on the size of the shell. Each team member has one oar that is anchored to the side of the shell, and the team rows in sync to propel the shell forward very quickly. The seats in the shell that the rowers sit on face the back of the shell and move forward and backward as the rowers thrust their body back to get more power in their rowing. Learn more about rowing!

The Proper Rowing Form

Rowing is a high-intensity sport that works your body from head to toe. You use your arms to maneuver the oars with your team, working all arm, shoulder and back muscles. When it comes to your core, you have to keep your core engaged with each row as you thrust your body back and forth. Lastly, your lower body is constantly working as you push through your legs with each stroke to add more power to each row. Most of the power in each stroke comes from the strength of the legs, according to riversportokc.org.

1. No Slouching

Sit up straight with your legs bent in front of you and grip the oar with both hands.

2. Keep in Time

In rhythm with your team, push your oar behind you into the water and push through your legs as your arms pull the oar through the water. Keep your core and back engaged the whole time.

3. Let it Slide

When you have made a full stroke, pull your oar out of the water, let your seat slide forward as you bend your legs, push the oar behind you and repeat the stroke, all while remaining in sync with your teammates.

It’s all in the Paddle

The paddles that rowers use are actually called “oars” because they are fixed to the side of the rowing shell. This causes the oars to not move around as rowers are completing their strokes. Also, rowing oars are very long at about 9.5 feet long, and they are typically made from carbon fiber, a very lightweight material, according to riversportokc.org. The “cleaver” or “hatchet” style blade is the most popular among sport rowing, as the asymmetric design and large surface area make it the most effective style of blade to propel the shell faster through the water.


Rowing can be traced back to ancient Egypt as a means of transportation, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. And, in the 19th century, it emerged as a club and sport in the United States. Now, people can participate in rowing at schools and local clubs all around the world, and no, you do not have to be a rowing athlete to try rowing!

Where Can You Go Rowing?

Because rowing requires a lot of special, expensive equipment and a team, it is typically not done recreationally for beginners. However, there are local clubs like Gainesville Area Rowing that allow beginners of all ages to get out and row with a coach and a team. To learn more about rowing, visit Gainesville Area Rowing’s website at gainesvillearearowing.com.


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