Learn to row

AKRC runs two courses for prospective rowers:
  • Get Fit to Row
  • Learn to Row

Auriol Kensington Rowing Club has a great record of teaching beginners to row. Over the past few years many people who have joined our Learn to Row programme have gone on to compete in the club’s top boats at major national and regional events. Whether your ambition is to win Henley or you just fancy trying something new, one of our courses will give you a fantastic foundation in the sport.

Get Fit to Row

The course:Rowers in the AK gym

  • 7 weeks
  • 2 sessions per week
  • Structured training plan and objectives
  • Cost £180

Rowers train hard. Whether you are looking to join a rowing team or just trying to shed a couple of extra pounds we can help you get there.

Throughout the winter months, when it is often too difficult to get complete beginners on the water, AK runs rowing based fitness classes. These focus on developing the core physical attributes of good rowing – strength, endurance, flexibility and stability – in the dry (and warm) environment of the gym. All of our courses are led by experienced rowers and coaches who will be able to give you one on one guidance and feedback throughout.

This is the ideal introduction for people who are unsure about getting in a boat without any prior experience as it helps teach you the basic body movements without worrying about an oar in your hand.

Learn to Row

The course:

  • 7 weeks
  • 2 sessions per week (1 weekend afternoon and 1 weekday evening)
  • Cost £220. Covers all costs of the course

Teaching people to row is at the heart of what we do at Auriol Kensington Rowing Club. The learn to row course is run and coached by some of the club’s most experienced rowers and coxes and we seek to support those new to the sport at every step.

Our course has been carefully constructed drawing on many cumulative years of rowing experience and listening to our participants to provide a smooth path from complete beginner to competent oarsman/woman. No experience or knowledge of rowing is assumed and we start right from the basics.

For the first few sessions you will have experienced rowers from the club sitting in the boats with you to make sure they are stable and safe – you can focus on getting those first few strokes right without having to worry about anything else. As the course moves on and you become more competent this will drop off so that by the end you will be rowing as a full crew by yourself.

Sessions are twice a week and held mostly on the water although there will be a couple of land sessions to cover specific points. Groups are mixed men and women, reflecting the club’s philosophy that rowing is either good or bad… not male or female.

You will learn in 8-oared boats, these are the most stable and allow as many people to be out at once as possible. Sessions are run either by a coach sitting in a launch or an experienced cox sitting in the boat –  you will get a mixture of crew and individual feedback and points for improvement.

We take the first couple of sessions slowly and make sure you know the basic working parts of a boat, how to get in, how to get out etc. While we introduce some of the core ideas on a rowing machine in the gym this course is all about being out on the water and you will be in a boat from your very first session!

To Participate

Fitness: We ask that participants are of an average level of fitness. You do not need to be a marathon runner or a world champion swimmer but you should be used to working out once or twice per week. If you are unsure contact us and ask. If you have successfully completed one of our fitness courses then you are easily there.

Commitment: To start the course you must be able to attend 10 of the 12 sessions. If you are going to have to miss a lot of sessions then it is hard for us to organise and hard for you to learn and we therefore ask that you are able to make a minimum level of commitment before starting. Obviously we are as flexible as we can be and as long as you let us know we will cover if you are away for whatever reason.


What kit should I wear?  Try and wear something relatively tight fitting. Excessively baggy kit can tend to get caught in the moving parts of the boat. Make sure you have a waterproof as we do train if it is raining!

Will I get wet? Probably, but not very. You are highly unlikely to fall in but you will get splashed a bit.

Will I be any good? Trying is the only way to find out! In all seriousness even the most uncoordinated can master the basics of the rowing stroke with enough practice. Unlike a lot of ball sports, rowing is a team game which does not require a high degree of hand eye coordination.

For more information or to sign up, please contact us. We are always on hand to answer all your rowing questions.

Next Steps

After completion of the Learn to Row course those graduates who are keen and who have shown the necessary level of commitment and aptitude will be invited to become fully fledged club members by joining the development squad. You will have access to all of the club facilities, including the bar and gym, and are welcome to attend all of our regular social events.

AK is a small and friendly club and you will probably know a lot of the senior and development squad rowers by the time you finish the course.

For details of membership fees please refer here.

Friendly, competitive rowing club on the Thames Tideway