Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

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Litewait
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Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by Litewait » January 21st, 2020, 3:01 pm

Nearing 3M meters and something just dawned on (stupid) me. I have always rowed with a clawed grip (no thumbs) and often times my forearms fatigue on certain rows first. I tried something last night using a fist grip instead, right off the bat my forearms didn't fatigue, it seemed I had more power in my stroke (like pulling with my just my fingers was softening my pull) and was able to shave an SPM or two and keep the same rate.

Could I have been doing this wrong all along?
58/5'9"/152

KeithT
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by KeithT » January 21st, 2020, 3:27 pm

Litewait wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 3:01 pm
Nearing 3M meters and something just dawned on (stupid) me. I have always rowed with a clawed grip (no thumbs) and often times my forearms fatigue on certain rows first. I tried something last night using a fist grip instead, right off the bat my forearms didn't fatigue, it seemed I had more power in my stroke (like pulling with my just my fingers was softening my pull) and was able to shave an SPM or two and keep the same rate.

Could I have been doing this wrong all along?
I think it's just a preference. I am the opposite. I never wrap my thumbs and feel I stay more relaxed that way and I never get forearm fatigue. I see many people take a "death grip" when they use their thumbs and their arms tire quickly. Again, I think its just what works well for you to stay relaxed but be able to provide power.
52 yo, 6'3" 200#
PBs (all since turning 50):
1 min - 376m, 500m - 1:21.9, 1K - 2:59.4, 4 min - 1265m, 2K - 6:29.4, 5K - 17:23, 30 min - 8366m, 10K - 35:54, 60 min - 16110, HM - 1:19:19, FM - 2:47:46

Erik A
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by Erik A » January 21st, 2020, 4:00 pm

ditto... im a very loose fingers only and no thumbs.... works fine with no arm fatigue at all
Erik
56 yo from New Zealand
6'4 and 125kg

Dangerscouse
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by Dangerscouse » January 21st, 2020, 4:16 pm

I always find a loose claw grip to be preferable and my thumbs are basically useless but it's what works best for you especially if your forearms are fatigueing.
47 HWT; 6' 4"; 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:24; 6k= 21:09; 10k= 35:46 30mins= 8,428m 60mins= 16,461m HM= 1:16.47; FM= 2:44:04; 50k= 3:16:09; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you row"

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G-dub
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by G-dub » January 21st, 2020, 5:21 pm

Loose claw. I have to keep away from any sense of pulling with hands and arms. Always have to remind about “LEGS” off the drive and leaving my hands behind (without bum sliding of course). So the handle come along for the ride until I spin it around, ideally
Glenn Walters: 5'-8" X 192 lbs. Bday 01/09/1962
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Litewait
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by Litewait » January 21st, 2020, 5:31 pm

Thanks all.

I think the issue might be I am shorter and weigh less that most. My hands aren't huge so the stress on my fingers must put a strain on my forearms is all I can think of. Always cognizant of (as Glenn says) leaving my hands behind, but the sheer force of my leg drive must be too much for my fingers.

Time to experiment a bit!
58/5'9"/152

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lancecampeau
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by lancecampeau » January 21st, 2020, 6:38 pm

I started with the fist grip and have since graduated to the claw grip...

I find it feels more natural and allows for easier wrist / elbow motion during the recovery.
Male, 46, 6ft / 240 lbs, 183cm / 108 kg / Started erging in Jan 2017
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nick rockliff
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by nick rockliff » January 21st, 2020, 6:42 pm

Litewait wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 5:31 pm
Thanks all.

I think the issue might be I am shorter and weigh less that most. My hands aren't huge so the stress on my fingers must put a strain on my forearms is all I can think of. Always cognizant of (as Glenn says) leaving my hands behind, but the sheer force of my leg drive must be too much for my fingers.

Time to experiment a bit!
You may breaking your arms before you have finished the drive with the legs. Your arms should be straight during the drive breaking at the end of the stroke.
63 6' 4" 103kg
PBs 2k 6:16.4 5k 16:37.5 10k 34:35.5 30m 8727 60m 17059 HM 74:25.9 FM 2:43:48.8
50s PBs 2k 6.24.3 5k 16.55.4 6k 20.34.2 10k 35.19.0 30m 8633 60m 16685 HM 76.48.7
60s PBs 5k 17.51.2 10k 36.42.6 30m 8263 60m 16089 HM 79.16.6

G-dub
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by G-dub » January 21st, 2020, 6:51 pm

^ what Nick said is easy to NOT feel even though you may do it. I think it’s a bit of an effort to take the catch quickly to engage the fan without that pesky dead space. So we have to make up for that with our feet. Soft relaxed shoulders also helps - another one it’s taking me forever to groove
Glenn Walters: 5'-8" X 192 lbs. Bday 01/09/1962
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MPx
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by MPx » January 21st, 2020, 7:09 pm

Just to be different, I use a fist grip, though consciously ease the pressure after the first few strokes when I'm gripping hard through the max acceleration phase! Works for me...

On longer rows - 1hr and HM have experimented with other grips (no thumbs, finger tips, edge of handle and close to centre) to ease/avoid blisters. Never been a problem with forearms at the slow pace I do on those pieces.
Mike - 63 HWT 183

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kini62
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by kini62 » January 21st, 2020, 7:14 pm

Litewait wrote:
January 21st, 2020, 5:31 pm
Thanks all.

I think the issue might be I am shorter and weigh less that most. My hands aren't huge so the stress on my fingers must put a strain on my forearms is all I can think of. Always cognizant of (as Glenn says) leaving my hands behind, but the sheer force of my leg drive must be too much for my fingers.

Time to experiment a bit!
I switch every 500m when rowing for distance or every 2:30 when rowing for time. My grip is stronger with the thumbs under (claw grip). I believe everyone's grip is stronger in that position. It also slightly changes which back muscles come into play when doing pull ups or pull downs.
58m, 5'6" 160lbs, rowing and skiing (pseudo) on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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ampire
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by ampire » January 21st, 2020, 7:39 pm

If I grip the handle too tightly, my arms fatigue, so I hold it looser for longer aerobic efforts. One bit of advice that I read, which greatly helped me with form on the drive, was a mental cue to use my legs to straighten my arms by keeping my arms relaxed. This conserves energy by minimizing arm and shoulder involvement and maximizing leg involvement. I saw that tip on the comments of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk69ZPPSAyE. The contrast between catching with legs versus with arms + legs can be seen between Adam Neil and Cameron Buchan's side by side.
M34|5'8"/173CM|150lb/68KG|LWT|MHR 192|RHR 42|2020: 5K 18:52.9 (@1:53.2/500)|C2-D+Slides+EndureRow Seat

left coaster
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Re: Claw grip vs. fist grip on handle

Post by left coaster » January 21st, 2020, 8:37 pm

Great vid! I also like some of the comments about feeling the relaxed pull in your shoulders at the start of the drive. When I'm relaxed and in good form, I have this experience.

As a fella with shortish gator arms for my height, I have joked that the relaxed claw grip gets me an extra inch at either end of my drive :lol:
Almost all the time I use the relaxed claw, unless I'm going hard on a short distance or doing a really hard start to a bit. I'll also often switch up my grip during a row if my arms are starting to get super tired.
100m: 15.5, 1Min: 353, 500m: 1:29, 5K: 19:41.2, 10K: 40:46

"The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer"

6'1", 235, 49yrs, male
Started rowing September 2015

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