Functional Fitness Exercises To Build Strength and Endurance For Rowing

Have you ever wondered how to build strength for rowing, on the water or indoors? There are three things we think are crucial when it comes to building strength for rowing.

Firstly, leg strength. Do you have the ability to drive for strength and endurance?

Second: do you have midline stability and endurance? Meaning, is your trunk capable of staying strong under duress?

Thirdly: Can you translate leg strength and a tight midline into a dynamic hip opening?

There is one extremely versatile tool we love that will train all of these points and in inexpensive and accessible and that’s the sandbag. It will contort to your body, it’s awkward, and they’re dynamic.

Ways to use it: You can front load with the sandbag and squat to full depth, simply stand with the sandbag held in front of you and develop erector strength, pick up the sandbag and toss it over your shoulder and you’re performing the dynamic hip opening.

The barbell is another tool you can use for front squatting, back squatting and heavy loads, but it’s expensive and you must purchase plates in order to achieve versatility.

The kettlebell, which we’ve mentioned before, is a great tool for the rower. When properly used, it forces you to maintain midline stability, but dynamically load your hips, while opening and closing them and loads the posterior chain.

We can’t stress enough the importance of strength building when it comes to the rower. The thicker your trunk can get the better. If you don’t have a strong midline, it will significantly deteriorate the amount of force you can apply to the machine. Your leg strength is crucial because you have to be able to push into the machine. And finally, the hip opening is your peak moment of power.

We’d love to hear your feedback on how your rowing improves after utilizing some of these techniques! Let us know in the comments.

For greater detail, coaching cues, and points of performance, train with us at

Dark Horse Rowing is built for indoor rowers and gyms who want to use the rowing machine as a tool for their training, workouts, weight loss, and recovering from injury.

You’ll get workouts, coaching, and support all around the Concept 2 rowing machine. This is THE place to get great workouts and understand the rowing machine.

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