Do You Need to Be Tall to Be a Rower?


Rowing is a sport that requires a lot of stamina, strength, and technical skill. While it is true that tall rowers tend to have an advantage over shorter ones, height is not the only factor that determines success in this sport. The purpose of this article is to explore the relationship between height and rowing, and to answer the question of whether being tall is a prerequisite for success in rowing.

Height and Rowing: The Basics

It is undeniable that height plays a significant role in rowing performance. Simply put, taller rowers have a longer reach and can generate more power with each stroke. This is important because rowing is essentially an endurance sport that requires consistent, powerful strokes to maintain speed and momentum. However, it is also true that technique, fitness, and mental preparation are equally important factors in rowing success.

What the Data Shows

If you look at the data from Olympic and international rowing competitions, you’ll see that the average height of male and female rowers is well above average. In fact, male rowers have an average height of 6’3″ while female rowers have an average height of 5’11”. This is much taller than the general population, where the average height for men is around 5’9″ and for women is around 5’4″. However, it is important to note that while height is a factor in rowing success, it is not the only one.

Technique and Fitness Matter

While height provides an advantage in rowing, it is not the only factor that determines success. Technique and fitness are equally important. Rowers who have perfect technique and are in excellent physical condition can more than make up for any height disadvantage they may have. In fact, some of the most successful rowers in history have been shorter than average, including Steve Redgrave, who won five Olympic gold medals despite being only 6’2″.

The Mental Game

In addition to technique and fitness, rowing success also requires mental fortitude, focus, and discipline. Rowing is a grueling sport that demands a lot from its athletes, both physically and mentally. This is where mental toughness can make all the difference. Rowers who are able to push through the pain, stay focused, and maintain their composure even in the most challenging conditions are the ones who tend to come out on top.

The Bottom Line

So, do you need to be tall to be a rower? The answer is no, but it certainly helps. While taller rowers do have an advantage in terms of reach and power, shorter rowers can still be successful if they have the right combination of technique, fitness, and mental toughness. The key to success in rowing is to focus on what you can control, which includes perfecting your technique, getting into top physical condition, and developing the mental fortitude to push through the pain and stay focused on your goals.


Rowing is a sport that requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and skill. While height does play a role in rowing success, it is not the only factor that matters. Technique, fitness, and mental toughness are equally important, and shorter rowers can still be successful if they have these attributes. So, if you’re interested in rowing but are worried that you’re not tall enough, don’t let that stop you. With the right mindset and training, you can still achieve great things in this challenging and rewarding sport.