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Rowing Pad Q&A: Row House Coach Jen Bauer
One of the best parts about selling rowing pads is getting to know the rowers we meet and the ways our products have made a difference in their practice—on the erg, in the boat, and often, both. Jen Bauer has been unforgettable from the moment we first spoke with her. Her enthusiasm for indoor rowing is off the charts, and it’s immediately clear why people flock to her classes at the Row House studios in Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, California. She is a major fan of Rowing Pad’s boat and erg cushions (more on that below), but we love her most for her effervescent personality, inspirational teaching methods, and, above all, total devotion to the rowing life.
MEET: Jen Bauer, Row House rowing coach
Currently living in: Danville, California
Originally from: Rockville Centre, New York
Rowing Pad: How did you first get into indoor rowing?
Jen Bauer: Row House was expanding nationwide, and I heard they were coming to my area. I was excited about the prospect of leading workouts that folks of any age and level of fitness could do together. Indoor rowing led me to outdoor rowing and now I own a sculling boat, which I love taking out on the water, too.
RP: Why did you decide to start coaching?
JB: Health and physical fitness have had a strong presence in my life for as long as I can remember, and I informally coached friends and family at various times. It’s always felt so rewarding to help others pursue and achieve their athletic goals. After leaving a corporate job to focus on raising my children, the timing felt right to pursue my passion and learn to coach professionally.
RP: What’s the vibe like at Row House Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill?
JB: Every Row House studio has an inclusive, energetic vibe. Music is a big part of our workouts, so it usually feels like a party. You can expect coaches and studio staff to know you by name, ask about your family and geek out on your rowing stroke!
RP: What makes a workout at Row House unique from other studios?
JB: The welcoming team atmosphere is a big part of the magic. At Row House you’ll find competitive erg racers taking classes side by side with folks who are in their nineties…and athletes at every level in between! We also row synchronized—or together in “swing”—just like the pro rowing crews you see on TV. It makes for an amazing team experience. (Check out Coach Jen in action during a class at the Row House Pleasant Hill studio.)
RP: Best rowing workout jam?
JB: I love going back to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Start by rowing under the beat, and when he starts asking Annie if she’s OK…up to tempo at 29.5 spm for intervals!
RP: Favorite time of day to coach a class?
JB: Early Saturday mornings, when the rest of the world is still asleep.
RP: Personal rowing achievement you are most proud of?
JB: Last year on a whim I rowed a 2k for time and ranked fourth in my state for my age group. I finished just behind another rowing coach who I really admire.
RP: Most useful tip for those just getting started on the erg? (Ed note: A true coach at heart, she provided three)
- Erase any self doubt. Anybody and everybody can row, including you!
- Be forgiving of yourself: You are guaranteed not to do it perfectly on your first workout. Aim for progress, not perfection.
- Compare your split times only to your OWN previous splits…not someone else’s.
RP: Something you think many people don’t know or realize about indoor rowing?
JB: Most of your rowing power comes from your legs and core. It’s a common misconception that the upper body is the main force in this sport, but it’s not.
RP: How do you find using a rowing seat pad impacts a rower’s form on the erg?
JB: In my experience, the seat cushion makes rowing more accessible to people with widely varying body types. It assists newer rowers in improving their form. When the hips are slightly elevated, you can find a stronger catch position because you can reach over your knees without compromising the spine/shoulders and without disengaging the core.
But the better angle and sustained core engagement one gets from a seat pad can help any rower achieve a more efficient and powerful stroke. Ultimately, it lets you work harder for longer periods of time, building endurance: More sweat, more speed, more meters, stronger body.
RP: What do you like, in particular, about the seat pads Rowing Pad makes?
JB: What I love about Rowing Pads is that they not only provide extra comfort, but the “lift” they offer is unique. Most other cushions compress over time. Rowing Pad is made of a dense material that does not seem to collapse: The “shim” effect that happens on day one is the same effect the rower will have after hundreds of sessions. Form improves and is not compromised again. I’ve not found this consistent level of support in any other product. Rowing Pads also come in multiple thicknesses so the rower can choose the one that gives them the most comfort/best position for their body.
RP: What are your top 3 most used coaching phrases when you are leading a class?
- “Form first, power second!”
- “We are making decisions with Every. Single. Stroke.”
- “Yes, you can!”