Beginner’s Guide to Rowing Crew, Team, Positioning & Etc

We all want to be fit and in good shape, want to fit into that stylish top that was purchased two years ago!

Taking care of the body and exercising every day isn’t a simple task in the modern days – we are extremely busy with work, parties, family commitments, and much more. On top of this, we hate exercising.

Did you ever find doing crunches, planks, lifting weights interesting?

I didn’t.

So, here comes an entertaining sport which is also an excellent workout. Yes, we are talking about ‘rowing.’

Rowing Crew 101: Back to the Basics

Rowing means the propulsion of a boat using oars. Rowing can be done on rivers, lakes, seas, and other large water bodies.

The act of rowing dates back to ancient Egyptian times. Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are said to have started rowing as a means of transport. Later in the 18th century, it developed into a sport in England.

Rowing is also referred to as ‘crew’ in the United States.

Rowing or crew is a popular sport in western countries, and rowing races are conducted.

A rowing boat is called a ‘shell.’

The boats used are racing boats, which are long, narrow, and semicircular. Oars are long wooden sticks with a paddle at the end, also referred to as ‘blades.’ The seats in a shell can move both forward and backward, which allows the rower to lengthen and bend his legs while rowing.

A rower pushes the water back with his oar, which moves the boat in the forward direction.

There are two types of rowing:

  1. Sweep rowing: In this, each rower holds a single oar with both the hands. It is usually carried out in pairs, fours or eights.
  2. Sculling: In this, every rower holds two oars, one in each of his hands, and it is usually carried out in quads, doubles, or singles.

Rowing as a Sport

Rowing is one of the oldest games in the world. In this sport, rowers in several boats race against each other to reach the finish line.

Prestigious institutions like Oxford and Cambridge organized a competitive rowing race in 1828 for the first time, and the tradition is being continued until today. Rowing in the Olympics can be traced back to 1900.

Even many rowing clubs have come into existence to help people take up this excellent sport.

Rowing Crew and Crew Team

Though rowing is often referred to as ‘crew’ in some countries, there is a slight difference between them.

While ‘rowing’ is the act of propelling the boat using oars, ‘crew’ is a set of rowers in one boat.

Hence, a crew team is a set of ‘rowing teams’ in a school, college, or club.

Rowing Positions

Before knowing the rowing positions, let’s have a look at the parts of a shell. The front section of the shell is called a ‘bow,’ and the rear end is called a ‘stern.’

A shell has a total of nine people, eight rowers seated behind one another, facing the ‘stern,’ and a ‘coxswain’ sitting in the stern facing the bow of the shell.

Coxswain is responsible for steering the boat in the right direction, and it helps in coordinating with the other members of the boat. Among the other eight rowers, the first and the second are called the bow pair.

The person in the first position is referred to as ‘bowman’ or ‘bow.’

The bow pair is in charge of balancing the boat. Hence they have the best technique of rowing. Seats 3,4,5, and 6 are the ‘engine room’ or the ‘powerhouse’ of the boat. It is the most potent crew as the middle of the boat needs the maximum energy, and the athletes in this part are usually the strongest of all.

Seat numbers 7 and 8 are referred to as the ‘stern pair,’ who take responsibility for the boat speed. They have the best coordination with coxswain and make sure the boat is going as fast as possible.

Why Should You Try Rowing?

There is a valid reason why this sport is a hot topic of discussion nowadays.

Here are several health benefits from rowing, which no other sport provides.

  1. Works on every muscle of your body: Unlike exercises that focus on a particular part of the body, rowing targets every muscle. It is considered the best cardio workout by experts.
  2. Not harsh on your body parts: Ever tried running or football, but had to quit because it was hard on your knees? No such problems in rowing.
  3. Entertaining: With crew members to cheer and adrenaline building up while racing, this sport is a very entertaining one!
  4. Calming: Rowing reduces stress, especially if done in the early morning on calm water.
  5. Improves flexibility: As it involves most of the hand and leg muscles and joints, rowing enhances the mobility and flexibility of your body.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Indoor Rowing

Now you might be all ready to check out a nearby rowing club and to sail on the lake with your buddies.

But wait!

In winters, with the water on the lake frozen and during days when it’s pouring heavily, it’s impossible to go rowing. The solution to this is indoor rowing. Yeah, you heard it right!

Wondering how can you pick up the boat and oars and sail in your living room?!

You don’t have to. You row using a rowing machine or often referred to as an ‘ergometer.’ This is used by even professional rowers in winters to stay fit.

A rowing machine, for example concept 2, consists of a wheel at the terminal, with a fan inside. As you pull the handle attached to the wheel, the wheel goes spinning by the air pushing against the fan blades for resistance.

The most common type of rowing machine available is consumer 2, which has resistance knobs to create more or lesser resistance.

Here’s Why You Should Consider Indoor Rowing Crew

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of indoor rowing, shall we?


  • Accessible easily– You don’t need to drive or walk to the lake, you don’t need to await the daylight. Access within the comfort of your home always.
  • Can be done in all seasons– No worries about the rain or snow. You can start rowing on any day and anytime you like.
  • Don’t have to wait for others– If you are used to rowing with your teammates, what happens if unavailable sometimes? Well, you can row indoors in your rowing machine!
  • Lesser risk of injury– When you are outside, there are more chances of falling or getting injured on a lake. Indoor rowing is relatively safer.


  • Lack of inspiration– With no partner/crew to cheer, it can get a little less entertaining.