Rowing Crazy


“We Don’t Just Talk About Rowing
We Actually Row!”

“We Don’t Just Talk About Rowing – We Actually Row!”

Benefits of Feet Out Rowing: Watch Our Easy Drill

Benefits of Feet Out Rowing: Watch Our Easy Drill

Hi friends! It’s Petra, and today I want to talk about a simple drill that will not only help improve your form but also give you some serious abs in just a few weeks!

Don’t let the name fool you, this has more to do with your abdominals than your feet!

Let’s get down to business.

What Do They Mean by Rowing Feet Out?

I know, the name is deceiving. When you hear the words “feet out” you are probably thinking that you point your toes outward like a duck, right?

What we mean is that you leave your feet OUT of the straps that usually hold them in place.

Check out our own rowing pro Max Secunda demonstrate this drill in a short video:


Whether you are having trouble maintaining the proper form or you just want to really give your abs a super workout, then this is the drill for you!

Top Reasons to Practice the Feet Out Drill

Most drills are designed to help improve one thing or another, but this easy-to-do drill forces you to use your own momentum and really work your core muscles, as well as teach you good technique when rowing.

reasons to practice feet out rowing

Some of the best reasons to do this drill at least once a week include:

  1. Learning true connection and stability during the finish portion of the stroke
  2. Control with the legs during the recovery portion
  3. Learning a more fluid release at the end of the finish stroke
  4. Working the ab and core muscles for more strength and control
  5. Prevent back injuries by preventing you from moving past the 1 o’clock position

When you have to maintain pressure with your feet against the foot plates, because you no longer can rely on the foot straps, you’ll find that your form instantly improves.

How Do You Erg with Your Feet Out?

If you’ve had a chance to watch the video that Max made, you’ll see that it’s very easy to do.

Simply push the straps to the side and place your feet on top of the straps.

Feet strapped to the footplates allow you to do all kinds of crazy things, including sliding back too fast (letting your butt hit your calves) and lying back too far on the finish stroke.

While you don’t have to practice this every time you erg, beginners, or those who have picked up bad habits, should try rowing with their feet unstrapped at least once a week.

Max Secunda on an Erg with demonstrating Feet Out Rowing

Move the foot straps out of your way and put your feet on top of the straps. Avoid stepping on the buckle. Now try rowing for 2,000 meters.

You’re probably feeling those core muscles really working hard, right? That’s a good thing!

Don’t try to row fast! This isn’t the drill to cut 2 seconds off of your split time. Just row and feel your body working.

If you row in a boat, you can also practice this by not using the foot stretchers. Just place your feet on top or inside without strapping them down.

I have found that doing this on the erg makes people a better rower in the boat.

Are There Other Ways to Practice This Drill?

You bet there are!

I know some coaches who insist that everyone warm up by doing 5 minutes of feet-out drills. It makes sense, right? Your feet are already unstrapped, so why not get going?

Max Secunda practicing feet out rowing drill

Rowing feet out is perhaps one of the best ways to warm up that I know of! Wear shoes, of course, because rowing barefoot isn’t a good idea. I know Max was wearing socks, but he’s a pro so he can get away with that at home.

You can also try this and simply use the handle to do the finish portion. Keep your legs straight and just rock your torso forward and back, pulling on the handle.

Not only will your abs get a real workout, but you will also feel how your body should be positioned during the back end.

Muscle memory is a real thing, folks, and you will be shocked that once you’ve done a half dozen feet-out drills, you will notice when you aren’t in the proper position or are leaning back too far.

The Bottom Line

feet out rowing with Max Secunda

May I suggest that newbies take it slow when they first try this drill. I’ve actually seen someone try to row as you normally would but fell backward off the erg!

Take it slow, imagine that you are doing a warm-up. You will find that this drill is not only going to help your overall performance, but it will also give you some serious abs to show for all that hard work!

Stay active and healthy, friends, and happy rowing feet out!