PAN AM Rowing Footwork

pan am rowing         To spectators, rowing looks like an ‘all arms and oars’ sport.  But these are just two components in a whole body effort to propel a boat through water.  The power in a rower’s stroke originates with a push-off from his feet, driven by his legs. Then, as his upper body uncoils, his arms draw the oar blades through the water. The rower’s efficient use of strength is critical in the sequential ‘Catch, Drive, Finish and Recovery’ phases of the rowing stroke. Fractions of a second count at the finish line.

Out of sight, the rower’s feet begin the acceleration of the racing shell on its ‘foot stretcher’. This push-off plate is a stationary surface. The only other point of contact for the rower in his boat is his sliding seat. The foot stretcher remains fixed to the boat even when force is applied. The rower is the mechanical link to powering the oars, generating and transferring force from the foot stretcher.

Foot Force

During an effective rowing stroke, different parts of the foot apply pressure on the foot stretcher. At the Catch phase, the toes push, engaging thigh muscles and helping extend the knees over the rest of the stroke. During the second half of the Drive, downward pressure quickly and smoothly shifts from the toes to the heels.  This movement helps the boat accelerate. The rower relaxes during the Recovery phase for as long as possible. The heels will rise naturally as the shin rises and the Achilles tendon pulls the heel upwards.  Toes are primed to re-ignite the Catch phase. (1)

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)