Raw Conditioning with Rowing


Rowing is a fantastic metabolic conditioning exercise where the athlete simulates rowing in a water craft on a rowing machine. The proper rowing motion consists of the athlete starting in a tucked position with knees bent toward the chest, the back upright, and hands holding onto the handle. The athlete then pulls the handle as he/she pushes and extends the legs straight and completes the movement by  returning back into a tucked position with legs bent and the handle close to the starting point. This is a full-body exercise that provides a great workout.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Proper Foot Positioning: Before rowing can occur, you want to set up correctly with your feet in the right position. The rower has a foot pad that allows you to secure your feet with a heel and toe strap, which enable you to adjust the fit according to your foot size. When adjusting the straps, be sure that the ball of your foot is toward the base of the upward slope area of the foot pad and that your straps are tight, as this will allow for a better push position with your feet.

  2. Don’t Get Caught: One of the most difficult things when learning to row is how to quickly and efficiently get your feet out of the rower so you can swiftly move to the next exercise in a workout. As simple as it sounds, people quite frequently get their feet caught in the straps and stumble out of the rowers, wasting valuable time in workouts. To easily get out of the rower, pull on the toe straps to loosen the tension and then slide your foot upward before pulling your foot out. If you pull your foot out right away, your toe will still be caught in the heel strap; however, by sliding the foot up and then out, you will be able to avoid catching your foot on the heel strap altogether.

  3. Get a Solid Grip: When gripping the handle, place hands at the outer edges of the handle rather than close to the center. Often people take too narrow of a grip, causing their back and shoulder to crunch up as they pull. Keeping a wider grip ensures room for your elbows to fluidly move back and forward with each pull while keeping your torso stable and shoulders down. Also, if feasible, try to keep your knees in between your arms rather than outside your arms, as this will help you have a more efficient pull on the rower.

  4. Stay Flat: Keep your back straight and in a flat position while also keeping your feet flat against the foot pads throughout the entire row movement.

  5. Push then Pull: To initiative the first half of the row movement, engage your legs and push yourself away from the rower. Just after you push with your legs, begin to pull with your arms, bringing the handle to your ribcage. This sequence allows you to leverage your leg strength to get the maximum distance or work from each row.

  6. Reverse the Sequence: To complete the second half of the row movement and get back to a proper starting position for your next rowing rep, do the opposite sequence as you did when pulling. Allow your arms, then chest, then your legs to come forward toward the rower until you are back in a starting position. Remember that you do not need to hunch forward with your hands all the way to the rower itself, but focus instead on keeping your arms straight and your torso slightly forward while your legs are bent. This position provides the maximum opportunity for utilizing your strength as you pull.

Tips & Tricks:

  1. Keep Proper Order: Often athletes will rush to bring their legs forward on the way back from the row, creating a sequence of their knees going up first, then their hands having to move around their knees to get back into a starting position. This improper sequence also causes the heels to lift from the foot pads and then the athlete pushes through their toes rather their heels on the next row. Always remember to lead with arms, chest, and then legs.

  2. Engage the Legs: Focus on keeping the heels down and maintaining the proper pull sequence to ensure you are activating your glutes and hamstrings to get the most strength from each pull. The legs contain some of the strongest muscles in the body, so we want to use that strength to get as much from each pull as possible, rather than only using our arms.

  3. Long, Steady Pulls: Try to not rush your rowing reps, but instead take long and steady pulls. This will help you keep proper form throughout the rowing movement while also allowing the rowing machine itself to maximize the distance you row with each pull.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.


Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


Simply fill out the form below and then schedule Your FREE No-Sweat intro Consultation on the next page.

Shortly after we will be in touch with you to confirm your intro session.

We are excited to meet you!



I am fully dedicated to helping every single one of you finally reach your goals.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification


Owner & Head Coach

Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

Fierce Play was established in 2012 in a 500 sq. ft. garage. After a few moves and upgrades, it now has a permanent, 4800 sq. ft. location in Maple Grove. Jeff calls it “home”.


NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) CPT Diploma January 5, 2012

CrossFit Level 1 Certificate

CrossFit Level 2 Certificate

CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certificate

CrossFit Power Lifting Certificate

CrossFit Mobility Certificate

CrossFit Gymnastics Certificate

USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Certification



To Request a membership hold, please fill out the form below. Warning, by filling out this form your membership will not be put on hold. This form is simply a way to let us know you would like to request a membership hold. We will then review your request, then reach out to you to confirm.


Please fill out the form below and one of our team members will review your request. Warning. The submission of this form does not cancel your membership. We will review your request, then reach out to confirm.


We Would Love To Meet You!

Simply fill out the form below
& one of our amazing
coaches will be in touch asap! We are excited to meet you!


We Would Love To Meet You!
Class Sizes Are Limited.

If you would like to reserve a spot... Simply fill out the form below letting us know what day you might come by & one of our amazing coaches will reach out to you to reserve your class.


$25 - Must contact prior Fierce Play to get signed up for Class

OUR Information:


11650 96th Ave N, Suite B Maple Grove, MN 55369




We Want To Offer You
The PERFECT Membership For YouR NEEDS.

Simply fill out the form below
& one of our amazing coaches
will send you our current
membership information.