Masters Rowing FAQ

Can I join the Masters program if I have never rowed before?

Yes, most of our Masters never rowed before joining the club. The Masters Program regularly offers Learn To Row classes. This class teaches the fundamentals of rowing, and skill is further refined at practices with on-the-water drills and exercises.

When can I start??

If you’re new to the sport, Adults should take a Learn To Row Class. Contact the Masters Director to sign up for the next class. If you have experience rowing, you can probably start right away! Contact the Masters Director for information on attending practices

What should I wear for rowing?

Wear clothes that are comfortable for exercising and appropriate for the weather. We will go out in all conditions – hot, cold, rain, snow, etc. Check the weather frequently and come prepared for the conditions.

Clothing should be form-fitting and not baggy. Loose or baggy clothing can get caught on the oars and seats of the boats.

For bottoms: Shorts should be compression -think spandex. Long/loose shorts will get caught in the seat and cannot be worn in the boat. Many retail outlets offering activewear such as Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, and Target have compression shorts/tights. Online, you can find rowing shorts at JL Sports or Boathouse Sports.

On your feet: Wear athletic/running/tennis shoes. Practices will include running, erging, and stretching on land, which will require shoes. Once you are in the boat, there are shoes that are attached to the boat. You just wear socks in the boats.

What else should I bring to practice?

A water bottle–the boathouse doesn’t have a drinking fountain. A rain jacket for rainy days, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses for hot days.

Where do you row?

We practice at the Community Boathouse on Hobbs Island Road. The boathouse is one mile east of Ditto Landing, next door to the Whitesburg Boat and Yacht Club. The club rows on the Tennessee River, usually staying within the channel between Hobbs Island and the Hobbs Island Road side of the shore.

Are there bathroom or shower facilities at the boathouse?

There is a portable toilet on-site equipped with toilet paper and hand sanitizer on the boathouse grounds. It is regularly maintained by the vendor.

There are no shower or locker facilities at the boathouse. Bags and personal belongings can be locked in the boathouse during the classes/practices or can be left in your car. Although you are expected to come to the boathouse in workout clothing, there is a small curtained area for changing clothes when needed.

Will practice be cancelled?

Practice is rarely, if ever, cancelled. The only conditions that prevent rowing are thunderstorms, high winds, and fog. On days that weather prevents rowing we will do a workout on land.

What time do the Masters practice?

See the Masters Practice schedule for Open Boathouse times.

Can I arrive late/leave early from practice?

Practices will begin promptly at the scheduled times.

If you will need to miss practice or expect to be late, please let your coach know in advance. Similarly, rowers needing to leave more than 15 minutes early should contact the coach via e-mail or phone at least 12 hours in advance to discuss options. It is very difficult for a rower to leave early as it requires an entire boat plus a coach to come in early. Please do not schedule other commitments that will require a rower to leave early.

I have a busy schedule and won't be able to attend regularly. Can I still participate in the Masters program?

Rowing regularly is the best way to improve your fitness and achieve your personal goals (such as weight loss, improving your strength, or increasing your rowing skill level). However, we understand that adults have busy schedules and many commitments. Our program is flexible enough to handle your schedule. We ask that rowers contact the Masters Director via the Master’s Yahoo Group email before practice so boat seating can be planned.

Do I have to wear spandex shorts?

Short, close filling running shorts can be satisfactorily substituted for compression shorts or tights. Baggy shorts can get caught in the wheels under the boat’s sliding seat, causing the rower’s slide to abruptly stop. This could cause an injury. Tight fitting shorts, such as spandex, are required to prevent the shorts getting caught. Long shirts can also get caught in the wheels, so shirts must be tucked in or short enough not to get caught.

I don't have much upper body strength, can I still row?

Yes, you can. Rowing is a ‘push’ sport, and the power of rowing comes from the legs. Upper body strength is important, too, and rowing will help build your upper body.

Will rowing hurt my knees?

Rowing is a non-impact sport, and is generally easy on the joints. Also, there is no twisting or torqueing of the knee, so most people with knee injuries find that they can row. If you have problem knees, we recommend that you consult your doctor before starting.

Will rowing help me with weight loss?

Rowing is a total body workout and an aerobic workout. At high levels of activity, rowing can burn as many or more calories than running without the impact to the joints. Rowing, combined with a sensible eating plan, can help with weight loss and body toning. Your weight loss results will depend on the intensity and regularity of your workouts and on your eating plan.

How many Masters are in the program, and what is the range of experience?

There are currently about 30 Adult rowers in the program. Some of our Masters rowed in college, but most learned to row as adults. Many of our rowers are graduates of our Learn To Row classes.

Do the Masters compete in regattas?

Our masters rowers typically travel to two or three regattas in the fall and in the spring in Oak Ridge, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee. We also compete in different types of regattas in Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other places on occasion to compete against other Masters Rowers

How much does it cost to join the Masters program?

See the Membership Page under the Masters menu for a breakdown of the cost of membership.

Will I get a work out?

Rowing is an excellent full body workout. However, for the first few sessions you will be learning a lot of terminology and technique, with lots of drills and stopping for rest. Well-conditioned athletes may not get much of a workout at first, but by the end you will be doing more continuous rowing without breaks and it should be a good workout. Because each rower is different, the pace of the practice varies greatly with each group.

What is an Erg?

“Erg” is the short name for the rowing machines (rowing ergometers) that we use for on-land training during the winter and on windy days. Ergs are like the rowing version of a treadmill.