What is Crab (rowing)? Understanding the Crab technique in rowing

What is Crab (rowing)?

Crab (rowing) refers to a mistake or a technical error that rowers can make while rowing. When a rower catches a crab, it means that their oar gets caught in the water during the recovery phase of the stroke. This can cause the rower to lose balance or even be ejected from the boat. Crabs can happen due to improper technique, timing issues, or sudden changes in the water conditions. It is considered an undesirable occurrence in rowing as it can disrupt the rhythm and speed of the boat.

Understanding the Crab technique in rowing

The Crab technique in rowing refers to a mistake that novice rowers may make while rowing. It occurs when the rower’s oar blade gets caught in the water during the stroke, causing the oar handle to be pulled out of their hands or to become stuck in an awkward position.

When a rower catches a crab, the oar blade digs too deep into the water and creates a drag, which can cause the rower to lose control of the oar. This can lead to a disruption in the rowing rhythm and potentially slow down the boat’s speed.

Catching a crab can happen for several reasons, such as improper technique, lack of coordination, or not applying enough pressure on the oar handle. Inexperienced rowers are more prone to experiencing crabs as they are still learning the proper stroke technique.

To prevent catching a crab, rowers need to ensure they have a clean release of the oar from the water at the end of each stroke. They should focus on keeping the oar blade parallel to the water’s surface while applying pressure and avoiding any sudden jerking motions. Building strength and technique through practice and coaching can help rowers minimize the chances of catching a crab.

Causes and solutions


1. Poor technique: If a rower does not have proper technique while rowing, it can put excessive strain on the muscles used in the movement, leading to the development of a crab.

2. Imbalance in muscle strength: Muscle imbalances, particularly in the core and upper body, can contribute to developing a crab. If certain muscle groups are weaker or stronger than others, it can affect the synchronization and fluidity of the rowing stroke.


1. Technique correction: Working with a coach or experienced rower to correct and refine the technique is crucial. This can include focusing on proper body positioning, hand and arm movements, and the sequencing of the stroke. Regular video analysis can help identify the areas that need improvement.

2. Strengthening exercises: Incorporating specific exercises to improve the strength and stability of the muscles used in rowing can help prevent crabs. This can include exercises targeting the core, back, shoulders, and arms. A balanced strength training program can help address any muscle imbalances.

3. Practice and repetition: Consistent practice is key to developing muscle memory and improving rowing technique. Regularly practicing proper technique will help ensure a smooth and efficient stroke without catching crabs.

4. Mental focus and concentration: Maintaining mental focus and concentration during rowing can help prevent crabs. Being mindful of body position, hand movements, and overall technique can minimize the chances of developing a crab.

5. Gradual progression: It is essential to progress gradually in rowing, especially for beginners. Starting with shorter distances and lower intensity allows for proper technique development without overwhelming the muscles. Gradually increasing the workout duration and intensity can help prevent crabs caused by fatigue or incorrect rowing strokes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *