Five gym exercises to maximise your power transfer

Take some time off the rowing machine by improving your core, leg and back strength with these exercises from Paralympic coach Nick Baker


(Iain Weir)

While the rowing machine is a great source of exercise, sometimes as a rower you want to change things up a bit at the gym. So, if you fancy hopping off the machine and on to the exercise matt, why not try out these five great power transfer exercises, as recommended by Paralympic coach Nick Baker.

Single arm overhead lunge with kettlebell

Take your everyday lunge and hold a kettlebell overhead in the opposite arm to the leg you are lunging with. This tweak recruits the stabilising muscles around your shoulder girdle so the lateral and rotational forces that the core has to manage are much greater.

Good for – leg strength, power transfer from footplate to handle and back health.

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Tuck pull-ups

Pull-ups with a difference. Raise your knees to a 90 degree angle to your body so you are essentially in a hanging seated position then complete your normal pull-up set. For a more advanced challenge try holding your legs out straight. Try to avoid hyper extending your lumbar spine by keeping your abdominals tight.

Good for – pull strength, balancing anterior and posterior core strength and back health.

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Overhead squats

Just by changing the loading point in this everyday rowing staple you can strengthen the stabilising muscles around your shoulders, improve upper body mobility and work the deep supporting muscles around your spine.

Good for – leg strength, back health, upper body mobility and power transfer from feet to handle.

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TRX/Rope hip hinge

Instead of your normal seated row try the following: set up opposite a partner in a seated position with your feet flat against each other and a slight bend at the knee. Put your hands on a TRX or a rope and hold a strong neutral posture; now hinge from the hips to work both the eccentric and concentric movements against your partner.

Good for – hip hinge strength, mid-stroke acceleration, back health.

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Overhead plate rock-overs

Rather than your normal reverse hyperextensions, try the following: hold a weights plate overhead with your legs in the quarter slide position on a rowing machine. Next, rock forwards and backwards to just before the point where you struggle to maintain this structure. Make sure you maintain a straight line from the plate to your hips.

Good for – thoracic strength, upper body stability, power transfer, back health.

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Find out more about indoor rowing on our dedicated pages, where you will find hints and tips on technique, pacing, preparation and more.