The Henley Royal Regatta
Britain has a long history of rowing appreciation, as demonstrated by the annual Henley Royal Regatta event. Lasting five days in July, the regatta is an international event, drawing crews from all over the world to compete. This year, Ruder Club Hansa from Germany claimed the Grand Challenge Cup, while USA’s Harvard crew won the intermediate-level Ladies’ Challenge Plate (which, despite its name, is a men’s event).
Timing is Everything
There are numerous types of races and boats, classified by the number of rowers (spanning from singles to pairs, quads, and eights) and type of rowing. Every event with multiple rowers includes an extra challenge in the necessity for every athlete to be in sync on every stroke. Intense concentration is required to accomplish synchronization and maintain one’s endurance. Proper breathing is essential as rowers must never be overwhelmed nor let the lack of breath disrupt the rhythm.
Few other sports rely on precise breathing as much as rowing. The two most common breathing techniques are to have either full lungs or empty lungs the moment the oar enters the water. With full lungs, rowers exhale during the stroke and inhale during the recovery stage, which is the interval between when the oar exits the water and before re-entry. When using the empty lung technique, the athlete inhales during the stroke and exhales during recovery. The benefit of the empty lung approach is that the knees are brought to the chest after the exhale, thus allowing the rower to reach slightly further. Additionally, the thighs squeeze the lungs emptier than normal, encouraging a greater exchange of oxygen in each breath.
A Thorough Work-Out
Though rowers may be known for their well-built shoulders, many are surprised to learn that rowing builds every major muscle group in the body. With every stroke pulled, rowers work quads, biceps, triceps, lats, glutes, and abdominals. As a low-impact sport, athletes are relatively safe from common sprains and injuries. Even back pain is unusual, unless rowing with improper form.
PowerLung made for Rowers
Rowing has grown in popularity dramatically over the past 50 years – including in the U.S. This fact isn’t lost on PowerLung co-inventor and English-born Barry Jarvis, whose life-long athletic pursuits included Olympic-level rowing. In fact, he competed at the Henley Regatta in the early 1960s.
“When I was eight-years old, one day my father told me we were going rowing,” Jarvis remarked. “I didn’t really have a choice. Thankfully, I enjoyed it.”
Plagued by bronchitis as a child, Jarvis believes his chief obstacle – and that of many athletes in a variety of sports – is breathing. “I realized that if I could do something about my lung capacity, I could dramatically improve my performance.”
Jarvis has watched as rowing has developed more sophisticated training techniques over the past 25 years. With his ties to the sport and business acumen, PowerLung has become a key component of the resistance-training regimens for several world-class competitors.
For more about PowerLung and its impact on rowing, visit our benefits for rowing page.