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The Boathouse arrow right Hydrow….Get a Grip

Hydrow….Get a Grip

July 17, 2020

Hydrow Chief Coach, Justin Moore, explains the importance of a proper grip when rowing. Learn more below! 

There are three contact points between the athlete and the Hydrow when rowing: Feet, Seat, and Hands. Having strong, proper contact in all three places ensures you will get the most out of your Hydrow experience. Today, we will focus on The Proper Grip.  

When describing the grip, I reference the knuckles of the hand in relation to the hands of a clock. Using the clock as an analogy for the handle, we always want to apply power on the horizontal access (9 o’clock through 3 o’clock). Accordingly, our goal with the grip is to have the 1st knuckle (the one closest to the palm of the hand) at 12 o’clock and comfortably drape the fingers over the handle so we have the 2nd knuckle at 9 o’clock.  

Here, James demonstrates the correct way to grip your handle — loose and relaxed.


James Dietz demonstrates the correct grip on the handle: 1st knuckle at 12 o’clock; 2nd knuckle at 9 o’clock; no tension in the fingers or wrist.  You want to “contain and control” the handle, but not “squeeze” it — similar to how you might hold an egg. 

An Incorrect Grip will create many problems: 

#1 – To Maximize the Power of the Legs the arms should “Hang” like strong cables during the “Push Phase” of the drive. Tension in the hands and wrist will flow up the arms, all the way to the shoulders. This prevents you from maximizing the power of your leg push and leads to early fatigue in workouts. 

#2 – Since rowing is repetitive, the tension in the hands and wrist can lead to strains in the smaller muscles and joints, as well as blisters on the hands. 

Here, James demonstrates the INCORRECT way to grip your handle.


James Dietz demonstrates an INCORRECT grip on the handle.  Note the incorrect position of the knuckles, as well as the significant tension in the wrist and forearm.  An old coach once said to me “Relax!  You are rowing, not wrestling a grizzly bear!” A
Tense Grip will increase upper-body fatigue, reduce the effectiveness of the legs, and create uncomfortable tension where we do not want it to exist. DON’T wrestle the Bear. Take the proper grip, relax the wrist and forearms, and DRIVE….THOSE…LEGS! Go, Team!  

– Coach Justin Moore

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