Pulling Progression & Common Faults on the Erg

For our Athletes that are not as experienced on the rower, we’ve created this guide to be used as a quick reference. Our Coaches are always happy to answer your questions so make sure to ask them for some pointers at the studio.

The progression on each stroke is always:

Legs → Torso → Arms → Arms → Torso → Legs



  • Maintain a flat back and tall chest in the Catch position with shins vertical

  • Sit on your “SIT bones”

  • Keep a wide overhand grip on the handle

  • Engage your glutes and initiate the Drive with your legs - fast and explosive!

  • Once legs are extended, lean torso back to 2 o’clock

  • Finish the Drive with your arms, keeping elbows in and tight to body

  • At the top of the stroke (the Finish position), handle should touch between belly button and sternum

  • Exhale at the top of the stroke (the Finish position)

  • Release arms first to initiate the Recovery, making sure not to hold the Finish position

  • “Turn over” the body to follow the arms

  • Once handle passes the knees, start to bend the knees, recovering up the slide


  • Compress or round your back in the Catch position

  • Sit on your “pockets”

  • Grip the handle narrowly or incorrectly

  • Pull primarily with your upper body

  • Begin pulling with your arms before legs are fully extended and torso is leaning back

  • Lean back too far at the top of the stroke

  • Pull too high

  • Hold your breath

  • Pause in the Finish position

  • Start bending your legs until after you’ve “turned over” your body and the handle is past your knees

  • Recover too fast - the Drive should always be faster than the Recovery!

  • Forget to engage your posterior chain before initiating the Drive

FitnessArielle Childs