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How to benefit from a safe and complete indoor rowing training with SKILLROW

Rowing is an exercise for the whole body that requires muscular effort on from the legs, buttocks, lumbar area, upper back, shoulders, arms and abdomen. This is a highly effective type of exercise because it makes a large number of muscles work simultaneously, thereby allowing for a complete full-body workout in a relatively short period.

Furthermore, as you row, caloric consumption is very high, which explains why rowing is an excellent method to improve body composition by reducing fat mass and facilitating weight loss.

The beauty of indoor rowing

Nonetheless, rowing is a sport not really accessible to many, as it requires the presence of at least one rowing club – and therefore a body of water good enough to be used for rowing activities, something which not every city has. Yet we find very often, within the premises of most fitness clubs, one rowing ergometer when not more, sometimes very little used.
Rowing like a pro
That is hardly surprising. Rowing is a gesture that certainly does not come as spontaneous as pedaling or walking; there is a right technique that needs to be learnt, which not even the average fitness coach sometimes knows. In every stroke, there is a combination of three different body parts, which must work at unison. The work of the "core" in this sport is certainly essential as it represents, together with the average activation of the buttocks, the keystone between the work done by lower body (extension of the legs) and upper body (extension of the trunk and following flexion of the arms). Such movement, when performed poorly, causes the infamous "low-back" pain, the no.1 injury typology for rowers.
Beware of back pain
At the same time, even in the best types of rowing ergometer on the market, there are always differences compared to the actual on-water conditions, which in the long period may cause an inevitable overload for the musculoskeletal districts most involved in the rowing gesture.

Let’s find out what the substantial differences between outdoor and indoor rowing are.

1. In water resistance

The moment the rower puts the oars in the water, the acceleration phase begins. Then, the rower must pull the oars as much as possible expressing the highest power values. The higher the strength applied and the speed of the stroke, the greater the power achieved during the technical gesture.
The athletic gesture of rowing
Clearly, the more the resistance offered by the rowing ergometer is smooth, from the beginning to the end of the drive phase, the greater the similarity will be with the sensation of the oars in the water, and therefore the possibility for the athlete to express more power. However, in the standard indoor rowing ergometer on the market this, unfortunately, rarely happens, as they are built with mechanical components, which, due to their conformation or assembly or otherwise, involve more or less marked rowing flaws, compromising the overall quality of the simulator.

2. Catch slip

Directly connected to the lack of “in-water stroke resistance”, we find that one of the main flaws of rowing ergometer complained from the athletes is the so called "catch slip". This issue has also found fertile ground in sports literature, as evidenced in numerous scientific studies and during numerous interviews with famous Olympic athletes.
Catch slip, an unknown phenomenon in the water
What is the catch slip? In short, the catch slip is the delay in the expression of the resistance of the ergometer at the catch of the handle. From the moment in which the drive phase (the rowing motion) begins, the resistance is not instantaneously ready. This causes the handle to move rapidly free of resistance and then to slow down after a few centimeters, due to the more or less sudden encounter of the resistance. This irregularity, although present but minimal in water, produces a "spine-recoil", which in the long run is extremely harmful to the athlete's health.

3. Inertia of the rower's bodyweight

In the commonest types of rowing ergometer, the foot-platform remains fixed and integral with the frame and the athlete's body is accelerated backwards during the drive phase. In real boat however, the foot-platform remains fixed and integral with the boat, but the whole frame is floating on a fluid. If there were no oars (“fixed” in the water), the rower would push the boat backwards with his feet, contrary to the direction of the boat's progress. This difference in the "pattern of movement" generates inertial forces that are added to those that would actually exist and that are mainly discharged on the upper part of the body, in particular on the spine.
the body moving in unison with the boat
According to many, the solution could be represented by the so-called "dynamic" ergometer in which the athlete's body remains more or less stationary with respect to the machine. Globally however, this ergometer has a supply of resistance less similar to that in the boat, generically resulting more "light" as an overall effort.

Moreover, they allow for an higher stroke-rate and requires an high level of rowing technique (not very common in the fitness world, unfortunately); for those reasons they have more diffusion in the sports world to particular applications (return from injuries, e.g. ) rather than in training to improve athletes' aerobic and anaerobic performance.

Skillrow is used by the best Olympic teams in the training of their athletes
The solution of a static ergometer with air resistance is today the most commonly adopted one both in fitness and in sports environments (so much so that they are also used for official evaluations within National and International Federations for the evaluations of individual athletes).

SKILLROW, making a splash in the world of ergometers

To make the world of indoor rowing less hostile to newcomers and in order to bring back the many benefits associated to indoor rowing, we at Technogym decided to talk directly to the athletes, trying to understand where a rowing-ergometer could make the difference. We designed and tested with them an indoor rowing ergometer that could bring the best in water-like rowing feeling, so to bring back the benefits of the indoor training to the real conditions.
Skillrow, the rower designed for athletes by athletes
In choosing the most suitable ergometer for sports training it is essential to pay attention not only to level of resistance but also to its quality offered by the ergometer, to make it is as similar as possible to the one that they will then find on the water.

The results of these tests is Technogym's SKILLROW, a technologically advanced indoor rowing ergometer that meets these athletes' requests, making it the best ergometer on the sport performance market.

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