USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

General discussion on Training. How to get better on your erg, how to use your erg to get better at another sport, or anything else about improving your abilities.
hermannjp
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USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by hermannjp » August 8th, 2006, 9:23 am

What part of the foot do you use to push yourself away from the front of the indoor rower, in the drive motion?

Some people lift their heels up when they are in the catch, is that natural?, and push on their ball of feet part to push themselves in the drive motion.

Should you try and apply the force almost evenly throughout your foot or should you push on your heels/ball of foot?

What would be the most effective, for intense workouts, way of applying force in your foot while in the drive?

Any advice will be much appreciated ;)

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Post by eolson » August 8th, 2006, 9:51 am

It sounds as if I need to adjust my technique. Thanks for your input.

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Post by jjpisano » August 8th, 2006, 10:32 am

hermannjp

I think I stay flat footed. I know Ranger and some others advocate lifting the heels and pushing off the toes and rocking the foot to become flat footed. I'm not sure what the right answer is.

I think it's possible that if you are lifting your heels and pushing off the toes and rocking your foot to become flat footed, then you probably have very good extension at the catch. However, although a long stroke is generally a good thing on the linear rowing machine like the Concept 2, the extension necessary for such a stroke puts the legs in a weak position to start the drive.

If you extend to the point where the shins are nearly perpendicular to the floor - maybe a little beyond this, perhaps the knees a cm. or two past this point -your feet will be flat footed on the plate and your legs will be in a relatively strong position for a good leg drive.

So the good thing about this stroke is it is relatively long and relatively strong.

Rowing News magazine had a nice pictorial not too long ago showing proper rowing position on the erg. That article advocated shins perpendicular to the ground. I don't recall what the article said about foot position - perhaps something to the effect of whatever foot position corresponds to shins perpendicular to the ground.

Despite this answer to your question, I don't hold a strong opinion on the subject. Hopefully, some guru will chime in with the definitive answer. Problem is I think gurus have chimed in on this question in the past and they give compelling reasons for varying foot positions.
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Andy Nield
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Post by Andy Nield » August 8th, 2006, 10:42 am

Heel position at the catch is generally determined by ankle flexibility.

Aim to have vertical shins. Lift the heel if you need to.

If the heel is lifted at the catch make sure you get it down early in the leg drive.
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Post by jbell » August 8th, 2006, 12:46 pm

I'd like to see xeno's or Paul's opinion on this. When I row, I lift up my heels and push off the balls of my feet. Sometimes I even just try to reach the chain cage (not sure what its called, where the chain goes on the recovery).
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Post by mcj22 » August 8th, 2006, 1:19 pm

A friend of mine rowed for Oxford. He emphasized pushing off the balls of your feet on the drive.

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Post by TabbRows » August 8th, 2006, 1:55 pm

In running, pushing off on the balls of your feet gives you the power. Sprinters have very little heel strike. In racewalking, along you touch down on the heels, you rapidly roll the foot to push off on the ball and toes of the foot. but I believe that this has more to do with the legs already being somewhat or (in racewalking) fully extended. Shot putters seem to go off with their whole foot as they come out of the squat stance.
So maybe biomechanically, you need the whole foot to power into a leg extension.

I think if you're erging with an otw background, youre probably coming up the slide and raising your heels slightly then if you startout on the balls of your feet, you move to the whole foot almost simultaneously at or right after the catch.

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Post by PaulS » August 8th, 2006, 4:09 pm

jbell wrote:I'd like to see xeno's or Paul's opinion on this. When I row, I lift up my heels and push off the balls of my feet. Sometimes I even just try to reach the chain cage (not sure what its called, where the chain goes on the recovery).
There have already been some excellent answers so I'll just make a corrollary comment.

The drive is the same as you would want to do if you were jumping off the ground from a squatted position. i.e. you would likely be up on the toes just a bit to keep from falling backward (dependent on ankle flexibility), but nearly immediately you will have the heels firmly planted and driving into the ground, the heel will leave the ground and you will finally push off the balls of the foot. The difference in rowing is that the angle of the footplate allows the ankle to go through this full range of motion without any part of the foot losing contact with it (except perhaps at the catch with ankles that are not flexible enough to allow the shins to be vertical and maintain heel contact).

Consciously driving off the balls of the feet is certainly too much, the sense for me is that the whole foot is taking the pressure, however the majority of the force is directly under the heel, as it is the most solid connection to the footplate, and pressing the balls of the foot can do nothing to add to the Drive, but it would cause tension in the lower leg which could give the perception of working harder.
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Re: USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by Gus » August 8th, 2006, 6:00 pm

hermannjp wrote:What part of the foot do you use to push yourself away from the front of the indoor rower, in the drive motion?
Most people using an erg lift their heels at the catch. Go to a competition or watch some of the videos and you will find it's a common practice. The stretchers of an erg are at such an angle that most people are not flexible enough to be able to keep heel contact while bringing their shins to vertical. Foot stretchers in a boat are at less of a vertical angle and it's much easier to keep your heels planted throughout the stroke.

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Post by LJWagner » August 10th, 2006, 4:45 pm

Heels come up if you go for a long stroke. Some folks have more curved forward calves that may allow the foot to stay flatter. Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz had legs like curved forward like that, so he in effect got extra kicking distance.

Try jump squats. You'll find you start heels down, and take off from the ground heels, then toes, as the calves provide final spring off the ground. Rowing your feet are always in contact. Even if you start heels up, you may go heel down during the drive.

Video of some sprinters shows variety of footfall. I have always thought staying up on the toes/ball of foot intentionally a waste of energy. Rest when you can, and don't overwork.

The leg drive running and rowing gets most strength from the thighs and glutes. Strengthen your calves, but just row what for you is comfortable and natural. I don't think anyone with great speed running or rowing will ever claim it was their incredible calves that got them there.

Low back strength, squat power, bench row power, and superb cardio vascular conditioning are really the name of the game.
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Post by Heaviestuser » August 12th, 2006, 9:10 am

Hi,
I just do it naturally, the way it goes best. :lol:
Having read all the above posts and opinions has added to my knowledge about the subject, but has not to led a different movement on the erg. :cry:
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Re: USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by grahamcawood » May 19th, 2016, 2:42 am

I use 20mm heel blocks to get constant heel contact on the erg and in a boat.
Advantages: 1. Saves energy by not using calf muscles.
2. Assists balance in the boat, especially since the catch is the least balanced part of the stroke.

Better to have heel blocks than to alter the angle of the stretcher.
Suggest you don't try to push harder ball or heel. RELAX your ankle, and your body will push as is comfortable.

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Re: USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by Cayenne » May 19th, 2016, 6:07 am

grahamcawood wrote:I use 20mm heel blocks to get constant heel contact on the erg and in a boat.
Advantages: 1. Saves energy by not using calf muscles.
2. Assists balance in the boat, especially since the catch is the least balanced part of the stroke.

Better to have heel blocks than to alter the angle of the stretcher.
Suggest you don't try to push harder ball or heel. RELAX your ankle, and your body will push as is comfortable.
Hello Grahamcawood - are the blocks you mention a standard (commercially available) item or something you improvised ? Thank you, Eddie

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Re: USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by aussieluke » May 19th, 2016, 8:30 am

Try Olympic weightlifting shoes
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Re: USING WHAT PART OF THE FOOT IN THE DRIVE

Post by TimDoyle » May 19th, 2016, 9:04 am

I happened across this on YouTube yesterday that might provide a different view point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KQzDBsrwdg

Tim

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