Indoor Rowing

From Beginner to Racer: Amy’s Indoor Rowing Journey

From the moment Amy took her first rowing stroke (which wasn’t until the 4th week of my rowing program), I knew she would pick indoor rowing up quickly. She showed up week after week (even sick a few times) ready to get her rowing on. She was completely engrossed in understanding form and really trying to make sure she was doing everything right. She was.

So, let’s take a look into Amy’s rowing journey. I have no doubt she will inspire you to get started! If it does, check out this upcoming rowing clinic: Learn to Row!

As a recent graduate of Bree’s Rowing 103, I wanted to share my experiences and thoughts in hopes that it might benefit someone else who is considering taking up rowing as a low impact, cardio exercise.

My first experience with indoor rowing was about five years ago at a local gym. Rowing was occasionally one of our warm-ups and incorporated into the workout of the day. There was minimal time dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of rowing, but I felt like I knew enough by watching others and going through the motions. What I would find out later is that I developed a technique that I would have to work hard on later to correct.

From that experience, I got the urge to purchase a rower for home so it would be more convenient. Once I set it up and browsed the owner’s manual, I felt challenged to know where to start. The rower seemed like a foreign object, I was limited on what I knew, and I struggled to get started on my own. I let my rower sit idle for quite some time before searching for a person or place that could give me the skills and enthusiasm to start rowing as part of my fitness routine. I was able to find a certified instructor near me, and although the instructor was experienced, there were many distractions at the gym which made it difficult for her to give us her full attention. Each class was ad hoc. Bottom line….I didn’t get the jump start I needed.

Last year when Bree announced she was teaching a rowing course at the RIA Fitness Center, it was the perfect opportunity for me. I knew enough about Bree to know that if she was teaching anything fitness, it was going to be good. Through each series of rowing courses, she had a deliberate agenda and learning outcome. We started with the basics of learning rower parts and spent entire sessions on rowing positions in order to master each one. She videoed each of us and provided individual assessments. It helped me visually see my technique and where I needed to improve. We performed drills to understand stroke rate and experience different damper settings. We rowed for speed and endurance. Bree always explained what we were doing and why. She kept the class size small in order to give each student more personal attention. The environment was comfortable in that we were not competing against each other but rather each striving for self-improvement. As an added bonus, Bree provided us access to her FB group that contained videos, warm-up drills, lesson plans, quizzes, and accountability checks.

Bree’s love of fitness, passion for rowing, and competitive nature keeps me motivated to continue my rowing journey. I chose to take Rowing 103 for a second time to strengthen my skills, be part of the rowing community, and be instructed by Bree. All certified instructors are not created equal. She has inspired me to compete on a relay team, set personal goals, and even get out on the water for a recreational row. Although the course is over, Bree continues to send me information she comes across that she knows will help me. Who knows, I may get my 500 meter row down to 2 minutes or under! ~Amy DeAnda

Amy is an inspiration to us ALL! What a strong, talented, and smart woman! Thank you, Amy, for all of your hard work. That 1:59 split is around the corner. 🙂

Amy (second from left) at the Iowa Indoor Rowing Competition. She raced for the first time!
Amy (far left) at her 2nd Indoor Rowing Competition in the Quad Cities!