I got started in rowing through a learn to row program at Los Angeles Rowing Club. It might seem like an uncommon exercise choice but my son was rowing crew and I really wanted to try it. At the time, my exercise routine was seriously dull, running on the treadmill at the gym. Getting out on the water with a group of motivated, fun people opened my eyes to the benefits of rowing and even better, the possibilities of a rowing trip. If you have spent time on this blog you will know that anything that leads to cool travel experiences ranks high in our book.
Masters Rowing (Rowing for Adults)
Your whole experience with rowing may just be seeing people on the rowing machine at the gym. While that’s a great exercise for rowers and non-rowers alike, it pales in comparison to getting out on the water. There is nothing like the feeling of working in tandem with other rowers to maneuver a boat. It’s fast paced, fun, motivates you to push harder than you thought you could and feels amazing.
Rowing is a full body workout that will get you in incredible shape. In addition to a huge calorie burn, you can expect well defined arms, a six pack and strong legs if you participate regularly. To learn to row, you need to find a program that has a spot for you in a boat.
How a Learn to Row Program Works
While all programs will have differences, LA Rowing Club starts out with a Learn to Row weekend. It teaches you the basics of how to row so you can decide if rowing is for you. After learning basic rowing technique, you will row in a novice boat for a period of time while you hone your new skills. In my case, the learn to row program was for 6 months and our ability from start to completion was amazing.
Learn to Row Program Overview
- In the Learn to Row weekend, we were taught the basics of the boat, how to do a rowing stroke, and how to keep the boat balanced.
- The novice program had 3 coached rows per week available to us. I did 2 rows per week. Each rowing session is one hour which includes taking the boat out, rowing and putting it away.
- The novice program is a 6 month term, covered by your membership dues and a total deal if you compare it to the cost of exercise classes. The amount of practice you get with awesome coaches is so valuable.
- After 6 months, you integrate into the general club membership and start rowing with intermediate rowers. The amazing part about this is that you have an opportunity to sit behind another, more experienced rower and copy what they do.
Difference between Sweep Rowing and Sculling
- The boat holds 4 or 8 rowers. Each rower uses one oar and rows on the port or starboard side. There is a coxswain who calls out directions for you to follow.
- Takes awhile to learn unless you are in a program that rows every day like student programs. Adult rowing programs are often only a few days a week and novice rowers learn at different speeds.
- When you travel, you can contact rowing clubs in the area and ask if they allow visiting rowers to join in on a row. In my experience, most clubs, even colleges are open to having a visiting rower if they have space in the boat.
- Boats hold 1, 2 or 4 rowers. Each rower has 2 oars.
- Faster to learn because you are not relying on anyone else and you are learning all the skills you need.
- You can do this sport alone or with other people.
- Most rowing trips are for sculling.
Rowing Off the Water
Most gyms have a rowing machine, called an erg or ergometer. Additionally there are rowing classes. I did the Rowing Workout at Revolution Fitness in Santa Monica and it kicked my butt. Rowing machines are used for cross training in Orange Theory and Cross Fit classes. If you don’t have any of those options, try a google search or contact a local rowing club for recommendations. You can also get a rowing machine for home workout.
Travel Opportunities – Competition or Rowing Trip
Rowing is such a fun sport and you can take it to the next level by competing on an adult crew. Many events will be held in your area but you can also travel to masters competitions as part of a team. You can even go to the Nationals.
Take a Rowing Trip for Vacation
Once you learn to row, a whole new world will open up for you with regards to travel. You can take a rowing trip just like people take biking or yoga trips. It’s a form of adventure travel that allows you to see beautiful places in the world and experience a city with local rowers. From travel within North America to rowing in Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. You can take a rowing trip to spectacular destinations.
Rowing trips are often coordinated by people involved with various rowing clubs. It’s good to check with the rowing club where you learn to row so you can travel with friends. If you want to meet other people that are passionate about rowing, there are tour operators like Rowing the World and Rowing Vacations.
Rowing Trip Ideas
There are companies that host multi-day rowing trips. Tour rowing starts at one point and ends at another, changing locations daily. Some trips have a daily workout in the same location each day and city tours for the rest of the time. Here are some rowing trips on our bucket list with the hosting company listed at the end.
- River Thames – a 7 day trip from Oxford to Weybridge passing historic boathouses – Rowing the World
- County Cork, Ireland – 5 days of rowing around the Emerald Isle – Rowing the World
- Lago Maggiore – a 7 day trip in Italy and Switzerland on one of the most beautiful European lakes – Rowing the World
- Austria – Row 3 beautiful lakes on a 7 day trip including time in picture perfect Hallstatt – Rowing the World
- Norway Fjords – 7 Days of Hiking and rowing 2 Norwegian Fjords – Row Tours
Where You Can Learn to Row
If you live in Los Angeles, and want to learn to row on the water, contact Los Angeles Rowing Club. They only start new groups twice a year limited to 24 participants. The spots sell out in less than 5 minutes. Elsewhere in Southern California, there’s Long Beach Rowing Association, Newport Aquatic Center and San Diego Rowing Club.
To find a rowing club in your area, do a google search for Learn to Row near me or put the name of your city (ex. Learn to row Boston). You can also search for Rowing lessons. This sounds simple but it took me some time to figure out how to get into rowing and find a sweep rowing program for adults. When I looked it up, I kept finding learn to scull classes.
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