Renegade Rowing at MSCF

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending Patrick Larcom’s Renegade Rowing Seminar here at MSCF. I love rowing, but it was a gradual process to get to this point. When I first started CrossFit, I had no idea what I was doing on an erg. But, after working with my coaches and doing some research, I was able to pick up on some basics and started to get the hang of it. While I have certainly improved on my technique since then, I know that I still have a lot to work on so I was jumping for the opportunity to work with Pat to refine my technique, define my weaknesses and work with a rowing expert first hand.

The Renegade Rowing seminar focused on three key skills. The first was posture. Just as in all aspects of CrossFit (and life), it is important that you maintain a straight spine, tight core and be sure that your sit bones are directly on the seat at all times. This not only will help you build strength to keep proper posture in general, but will also help you maintain control. Body control is important because it minimizes unnecessary movements and ends up saving you energy, which is especially important for longer rows. Think of the last time you’ve rowed a 2k… you’ll want to save all the energy you can! This lead us to connection. As you drive out of the catch (when your body is closest to the fan and you are about to push away from it), your hips, shoulders, and the handle bar should maintain the same shape – a triangle with your spin directly facing “1 o’clock” – until you open your hips to finish your stroke. All three of these aspects go hand in hand and when practiced will not only help you become a more efficient rower, but will directly transfer into other CrossFit skills and movements and in your daily life.

After explaining each of these skills in detail, Pat explained the concept of suspension. Have you ever done a snatch where the bar feels as though it weighs nothing? It’s a result of great technique. Basically, to achieve suspension, you drive horizontally, pushing yourself out of the catch. You are always in contact with the seat, but you feel almost weightless, as if you were floating. If you are having a hard time achieving suspension, focus in on one of the three factors above, and you’ll be on your way! For more information, here is Pat explaining a suspension drill. We did a similar drill at the seminar, without the strap.

We ended the seminar with a quick rowing WOD – a 60 calorie as fast as possible with a partner. While one partner was on the rower, the other partner focused on doing as many burpees as possible. After the rowing partner took 15 strokes, the partners switched until 60 calories were reached. Each burpee completed by you and your partner, was 2 seconds off of your final time. Brooke was my awesome partner, and we had a blast!! Great workout to end an awesome seminar.

Of course, this was all just a brief summary of all the amazing information that Pat had to give. I highly suggest attending a Renegade Rowing seminar in the future! Pat usually does a few of these seminars throughout the year, so make sure to check out his website (www.renegaderowing.com) for updates. Pat is also available for small group training if anyone would like help with rowing at home or in the gym. Based on my experience at his seminar, I guarantee that these sessions are be extremely helpful for anyone who wants to hone in on their technique and become a more efficient rower. Pat can be reached directly at pat@renegaderowing.com.