How Do I Stop My Rower From Sliding? (6 Things You Should Know)

So, you want to know, “How Do I Stop My Rower From Sliding?”

You would think that sliding is mainly down to the surface that you’re rowing on.

Now, while this may be true, sliding can also be caused by poor rowing technique.

There are a number of “form checks” that will not only help you row more effectively, but they will also stop you sliding around the room.

Plus, there are certain “surface issues” you should adhere to.

Allow me to explain all of these now.

How Do I Stop My Rower From Sliding?

In order to stop your rower from sliding you should first check your technique. If the rower is sliding forwards you’re not catching the flywheel correctly, so ensure your arms are straight at the start. If the rower is sliding backwards this indicates your pulling on the straps with your feet. You are also likely rushing the recovery phase, as opposed to returning to the start position in a smooth and controlled manner. Sliding can also be attributed to the surface that you’re rowing on. Where possible, carpet, rubber, and rough concrete are the best surfaces to row on.

1. Are You Sliding Forwards or Backwards?

A Man Using a Rowing Machine at Home

The direction in which your rower is sliding can provide an insight into your technique.

Firstly, if you’re sliding forwards this tells me that you’re not catching the flywheel correctly.

The initial movement on the rowing machine originates from the leg drive.

However, your arms still have an important role.

More often than not, if you have a slight bend at your elbow the rower is likely to move forwards.

The main reason for this is that you’re not catching the flywheel correctly.

In effect, you’re having to pull with your arms at the beginning too due to the bend at the elbow.

So, in order to fix this your arms should be completely straight.

This way you can rely solely on leg drive to get your started.

Now, if you find that the rower is sliding backwards, this typically means that you’re pulling on the foot straps.

In fact, this is one of the biggest rowing errors that I see.

In an attempt to produce as much force as possible with the leg drive you may find it harder to return to the start.

This is what forces many people to pull with their feet in order to bring themselves back in.

But, in truth the return phase should be all about your core.

When you return to the start this should actually be viewed as the recovery phase of each stroke.

And I’ll cover this in more detail in a moment.

2. Try Rowing Strapless

So, I’ve mentioned that possibly the biggest rowing error is pulling yourself back in with your feet.

I’ve also said that the return phase should actually involve you using your core.

But, in an attempt to row as hard and fast as possible many of you end up using your feet to bring yourself back in.

Not only is this incorrect technique, but it can also lead to soreness or injury in the lower legs.

My recommendation would be to try rowing completely strapless.

Okay, I understand that the foot straps form an integral part of your rower, but you don’t actually need to use them.

Plus, when you don’t use straps you’re more likely to adhere to good rowing technique.

And this will mean that you’re using the target muscles at the right time during each stroke.

Furthermore, this will eradicate the rower sliding backwards whenever you use it.

3. You’re Rushing the Recovery Phase

I typically view the return phase as a recovery phase.

Basically, you should put all out effort into the leg drive until your legs are fully extended.

Then as you return to the starting position you should be allowing your legs, upper back and arms a short resting period.

As I’ve said, it’s all about using your core to bring yourself back in.

However, most people will typically rush the recovery phase, and have no real control over what they’re doing.

I would hazard a guess that this once more is because they are trying to row as hard and as fast as possible.

This usually leads to jerking and an uncontrolled return.

So, you’ll either end up pulling yourself back in with your feet, which could slide the rower backwards.

Then again, the lack of control and use of additional momentum on the return could force the rower forwards.

So, if you want to get the most out of your rowing workout, and you don’t want to be sliding all around the room, learn to control the “negative” phase of the row.

Remember, this is your chance to “rest” and allow the target muscles an opportunity to recover.

Correct Rowing Technique

4. Choose the Right Surface (Where Possible)

Okay, so I’ve spoken about using perfect form and good technique when rowing.

However, I’m sure you’re aware that the surface that your rower is on will also play a part in whether you slide around.

I understand that your options may be limited if you’re using a rower at home.

With that being said, the best surfaces you can use will either be carpet, rubber, or rough concrete.

Basically, all of these surfaces offer greater friction which will ensure that your rower stays in place.

Possibly, the worst surfaces to have your rowing machine on will be finished wood, laminate, tile, or vinyl.

These surfaces won’t typically be able to offer sufficient friction to keep the rower in place.

This can actually be made worse depending on your weight, the intensity at which you row, and of course your technique.

The heavier you are, the higher the likelihood of slipping.

The same can be said if you’re rowing with great intensity.

And I’ve already explained how poor technique can have an impact.

So, where possible, place your rowing machine on a surface that offers the best friction.

5. Keep it Clean

How clean both the surface and the underside of your rowing machine are also has an effect on sliding.

So, even if you have no other option than to place your rower on wooden or tile flooring, you still have the ability to increase friction.

Dust is basically your rowing machine’s worst enemy.

You may think that cleaning or polishing a wooden surface may make sliding around even worse.

Now, while this is true to some extent, dust can actually make matters far worse.

So, it’s important to keep the floor and surface that your rower is on as clean as possible.

You should also ensure that the underside of the rubber feet of your rower are kept clean as well.

In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of us never even consider cleaning underneath the actual rower.

However, if dust or dirt forms underneath the rubber feet, this will once more reduce friction.

And this that may cause the rowing machine to slide around even more.

How to Clean Your Rowing Machine

6. Have Something Between the Rower and the Floor

The most obvious solution to a sliding rower is to place something down on the floor.

However, this still won’t counteract poor rowing form, so keep an eye on your technique.

Most rowing manufacturers now produce their own rowing mats.

So, this can simply be placed underneath the rowing machine.

But, the mat and the rubber feet of the rower should still be cleaned regularly.

Don’t forget that dust gathering will reduce friction.

If you don’t wish to go the extra expense of an actual rowing mat there are other items you can use.

A yoga mat will suffice, as will a beach towel.

You could even use your kid’s puzzle mat.

For me, the best solution has always been to include a beach towel anyway.

And this is regardless if you use a mat of any sort.

My reasoning for this is that you’re likely to sweat during your workout, so a towel is more likely to absorb your sweat.

Plus, it’s much easier to just toss the towel into the washing machine once you’re done.

Final Thoughts

I trust you have a better idea of how to stop your rower sliding.

The first place to look will always be your technique.

You will be able to work out your form flaws based on whether the rower is moving forwards or backwards.

Additionally, you should always have a slow and controlled recovery phase to each stroke.

It’s also important to find the right surface to place your rower on, as well as keeping it clean.

However, I also understand that you may be limited in your options.

If so, then you should place something between the rower and the floor.

I would also urge you to try strapless rowing.

This is the ideal way to hone your technique, and it will stop you from using your feet on the return phase, which can be a killer on the shins.

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