Legs extension at the finish?

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DanielJ
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Legs extension at the finish?

Post by DanielJ » November 19th, 2014, 12:24 am

Hi,

I find that, for me, it's unnatural to completely extend or flatten out my legs at the finish. I tried to force it today with some lower spm work, really concentrating on it, and indeed I can do it if I actively push my knees down, but it feels inefficient. My stroke is very similar to that of Eric Murray's in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOVmIrWZdWA (Compared with Hamish, who, like most rowers I've seen, seems to really flatten his legs out hard at the finish, almost bouncing his knees down, Eric seems like he has a couple of degrees of extension left too. Or at least his legs seem to only drive out to about 175 degrees, and then they quite relaxedly extend to flat as his arms finish the stroke.)

I think my drive phase is pretty good otherwise; it's just that my legs tend to finish at, say, about 175, maybe even 177 degrees, rather than the 180. It's very close, just not quite flattened out. And indeed it does feel efficient to me - my quads are doing the work and my body is solid.

It's probably worth noting that I can't touch my toes when I stand with my legs straight, so I think that lack of flexibility is a factor.


So perhaps this is a stupid question and I really ought to work on that flexibility, and then driving the legs through to full extension will feel more natural. I'll try to work on my flexibility but, until then, am I the only one here with this "issue"? Is it utterly vital that the legs flatten out completely?

p.s. - I think my legs flatten out a little bit more with harder, intense pieces.


Edit - After making this post I just did a 5k at 23 spm - my first time going so low, and I focused hard on keeping the technique absolutely perfect. My legs almost, almost lock out; it's just a case of a lack of flexibility that makes full extension feel unnatural, I think.

But still, I'll get working on some harder stretches anyway and we'll see how that goes.
30, 6'2 (1.88m); 179 lb (81 kg)
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jamesg
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by jamesg » November 19th, 2014, 2:06 am

I think we can relax the quads just before the legs straighten, if we want to.
There's no more length to be gained then, so no more work they can do; and so long as the legs can still act as an inert strut or prop for back and arms, nothing to be lost either.
The arms and back then work to cancel rearwards momentum, avoiding foot lift-off and making it easier to come forward.

Might stop knee-bounce too, not usually considered a good thing.
08-1940, 183cm, 84kg. Last seen MHR 155, in 2k (2020-12-03) 8.47.6@23

DanielJ
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by DanielJ » November 19th, 2014, 10:52 pm

Thanks as ever, James! :)
30, 6'2 (1.88m); 179 lb (81 kg)
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lindsayh
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by lindsayh » November 20th, 2014, 1:39 am

So perhaps this is a stupid question and I really ought to work on that flexibility, and then driving the legs through to full extension will feel more natural. I'll try to work on my flexibility but, until then, am I the only one here with this "issue"? Is it utterly vital that the legs flatten out completely?
Not a stupid question. You should off course always work on flexibility.
You should work on flexibility whatever technique you use but IMO you don't need to lock out legs to full extension and I try to actually avoid it (and I can put palms on the floor). There is an argument (and some discussion on the ISS forums last year I think) about the connection between full extension and lower back injuries. A physio in Brisbane (Australia) and an elite rower developed a tool (I have one at home) to prevent lock out extension because they felt it may hurt the lower back by causing a forward tilt of the pelvis especially in people with shorter hammies. There is probably no advantage in that last very minor lengthening in terms of power transfer and efficiency of stroke.
(I am sure some will disagree tho')
Lindsay
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PBs (65y+) 1 min 349m, 500m 1:29.8, 1k 3:11.7 2k 6:47.4, 5km 18:07.9, 30' 7928m, 10k 37:57.2, 60' 15368m

Bob S.
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by Bob S. » November 20th, 2014, 11:00 am

I had my introduction to siding seat rowing over 70 years ago and one of the warnings was never to extend your knees to a full lock. My coaches were a couple of the best in the business.

Bob S.

DanielJ
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by DanielJ » November 20th, 2014, 3:29 pm

Thanks, Lindsay and Bob.

My instinct was that indeed the last few degrees and a full lock was unnecessary, but for particularly flexible people, if after the quads had done the drive work the knees naturally fell down to a full lock position, that would be fine as long as the knees didn't really bounce down as if almost hyperextending. But I've just seen so many very good rowers, and even technique videos lately, where the legs clearly flatten out totally, so I had to ask.
30, 6'2 (1.88m); 179 lb (81 kg)
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Oldibtgdy
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by Oldibtgdy » November 21st, 2014, 11:22 am

Staying relaxed in the boat is important, but somehow i can't see a good way to accelerate the boat past the pins with the last bit of the leg drive, a rapidly and forcefully opening back and arms without a fairly rigid connection with the foot stretcher. Sending the boat w the metatarsals, calves and trunk requires a pretty straight knee, doesn't it? Helps prevent butt-tucking out of the bow, too.

grahamcawood
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by grahamcawood » July 17th, 2017, 7:42 pm

Greetings.
Watching Rob. Waddell you will see that he allows his legs to rebound at the finish. Unfortunately he then has to stop them rising to allow the hands to pass. My style - Visit Youtube Graham Cawood. - brings the legs down throughout the stroke, so that they only stop at the release. They are not held down at all, and rebound. Meanwhile the blades are feathered IN the water as they are lifted, and the hands immediately push the handles away as they clear the water, to clear the rebounding knees. No pausing! As you will see in my youtube, this technique works well on the erg.
If Rob brought his legs down a little later he would not need to pause them after rebounding.
Observing videos of rowers holding the legs down at the release you can see the wasted muscle use in the thighs.
Have fun.

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Oarsome Fitness
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Re: Legs extension at the finish?

Post by Oarsome Fitness » July 18th, 2017, 9:13 am

You should definitely avoid completely locking out your legs at the finish, this really gives the chance to cause some injury when rocking over and starting the recovery.

In general, your legs should finish at a level of extension that you can support your body to open and then rock back at. This means that the more flexible you are, the easier this will be to do at a further extension. if you are lacking flexibility you can cheat a bit and slide slightly to bend your knees to then rock but you should avoid this as much as you can.
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2k: 6:30.8 | 30r20: 8205m | 5k: 16:53

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